'British-only beef' campaign sparks export fears for farmers
Irish farmers and exporters have been dealt a serious blow after UK supermarket chain the Co-op announced it would sell only British fresh meat.
The supermarket giant is the first retailer to push for a 'British-only' style campaign to prepare for Brexit.
The Co-op singled out Ireland as the "biggest beneficiary of EU meat trade with the UK".
And it called on other supermarkets and food service providers to "back home-grown goods" from Britain so that "British food" may take "pride of place in our British aisles".
The move is bound to be viewed as a serious blow to Irish meat exporters and farmers.
There is concern that other supermarkets such as Morrisons and Tesco could follow suit.
The Irish Farmer's Association said last night: "Irish beef is supplied to numerous outlets in the UK based on long established relationships and a reputation for quality. The IFA is looking for this trading arrangement to continue into our most valuable market."
An estimated €1.65bn worth of meat is shipped from here to the UK annually.