Dáil Éireann - Volume 559 - 11 December, 2002
Written Answers. - Organic Farming.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
70. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties which organic farmers faced in selling their meat on the UK market where, for example, finished cattle were not accepted by a company (details supplied) in Coleraine; the reason for the problem; and if it is to be resolved. [25955/02]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh)
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Under EU beef labelling regulations operators involved in the production and marketing of beef are required, since January 2002, to include on their labelling an indication of the country of origin of the animal from which the beef was derived. I am aware that some meat factories in Northern Ireland may now be reluctant to accept for slaughter cattle born in the Republic of Ireland, but which were reared or finished in Northern Ireland, because an indication of Irish origin will not permit them to apply a British Beef label to their product as required by some of their UK customers.
While the purchasing decisions by both traders and retailers are commercial and a matter for themselves, I am, nevertheless, concerned if EU labelling rules were to lead to a distortion of the traditionally strong trade in live cattle to Northern Ireland and, for that reason, I have asked that the matter be kept under review. I have brought my concern on this matter to the attention of the Northern Ireland authorities.
Dáil Éireann 559 Written Answers. Organic Farming.