'Tighter rules needed on labelling chickens'
Country of origin labelling must be tightened up as many consumers are unaware where their chicken fillets come from, a producer has warned.
Chicken has surged in popularity, with health-conscious consumers opting for leaner protein now eating around 35kg a person each year.
However, the Irish Farmers' Association's poultry chair Nigel Renaghan said country of origin labelling needed to be extended to chicken sold loose in trays at butcher counters or supermarkets.
Vincent Carton, from Manor Farm chicken processors, which was recently sold to a Swedish company for €70m in cash and shares, said Irish consumers eat parts of four million fresh birds a week.
Mr Carton said his industry figures show 43pc of the fresh chicken comes from Holland. However, the exact origin is not clear to the buyer as they arrive into Holland from other European countries where they are mixed up, sized and placed on trays designed for the hotel and catering industry.
However, Mr Carton said they are often sold off loose on meat counters.
He pointed out the EU has recognised the issue and the Government has shown a willingness to amend regulations, but has yet to do so. Mr Carton said frozen raw chicken from Brazil was often sold into the Chinese takeaway trade, while Thai produce frequently went into pizza toppings.
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