Dubious Imports Undermine Irish Chicken Production

IRELAND - Chicken growers held a rally in Cappoquin, County Waterford yesterday to highlight the threat posed to the Irish chicken industry from cheap imports, which do not achieve the same high standards as Irish chicken.
calendar icon 2 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Producers from around the country joined workers and the local community to send a strong message that the poultry industry worth €200m to the economy must be maintained.

Speaking at the rally on 1 September, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Padraig Walshe launched an attack on supermarkets for using discounted chicken as an enticement for shoppers.

Mr Walshe said, “This has devalued a Quality Assured product in the minds of consumers. Offers such as ‘two for one’ put downward pressure on producer margins at a time of rising costs. Supermarkets cannot continue to use food as a loss-leader in their pursuit of market share.”

IFA has raised the practice of substantial transformation, which allows imported meat to be re-labelled as a product of Ireland. This deliberate confusion means consumers are duped when it comes to shopping for chicken.

Chairman of the IFA Poultry Committee Ned Morrissey said “Imports of questionable traceability have been very damaging to the industry in Ireland. These imports do not meet the stringent welfare and environment regulations that Irish producers adhere to. The conditions that apply in countries such as Brazil and Thailand bear no resemblance to the strict controls that operate here. Consumers should be made aware of the huge gulf in standards between fully traceable, Quality Assured Irish chicken and what is imported.”

He said the livelihoods of growers depended on an injection of capital to secure the future of the plant in Cappoquin. Producers who are owed €1m are waiting to hear what plans the liquidator has for the company.

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