Well-known farmer's disgust at 'produced in Ireland' rashers 'misleading customers'
Kerry pig farmer Shane McAuliffe was less than impressed when he spotted rashers for sale on the shelves of supermarket Iceland and wants to know why they say ‘produced in Ireland’?
"I went to a pig discussion group meeting and when I was there I noticed that there were new signs for an Iceland store and I said I must go in an see what they are selling.
"The last time I was in there all their pork products were imported and this time when I looked at the shelves I saw a brand called Glendarra and it said on top - Master Butchers of Ireland and 'produced in Ireland' and the Irish tricolour.
"It looked Irish and then I looked at the rest of the labelling and saw ES - which meant it was Spanish and I looked at a few other packets and saw D (German) and DK (Danish) on them."
The pig farmer said he was "shocked" at the packaging and says it's "blatantly trying to mislead the consumer". "Why are these rashers labelled 'produced in Ireland'?"
Shane then filled up his trolley with the products and asked to talk to the manager. "I told her I was a pig farmer and I was shocked that they were stocking these products and blatantly trying to mislead the consumer with the packaging."
According to McAuliffe, the manager said she would relay back the message to the head office.
However, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, which governs the labelling of food in Ireland, the term 'produced in Ireland' is allowed if the meat has been sliced and packaged in Ireland.
A spokesperson for the FSAI said the European Commission is changing the legislation to ensure that the origin of the primary ingredient will be in made more obvious to consumers, but that legislation won't come into force until 2020.
They also said that brand names do not come under labelling law and are marketing.
However, Shane who farms 2,000 sows across four farms, says with the current prices that farmers are getting for their produce, they are losing around €10 with every pig that leaves their farm.
Ireland, he says, is the only country offering full DNA traceability on its pork.
"If you pick up any bacon in Ireland you can test it and determine whether it's Irish origin or not. Since that was introduced by IFA, a lot more of the brands are using Irish pig meat.
"But this pork had no Bord Bia logo and it's ok for Iceland to put an Irish flag and an Irish name on the product, even though it's not Irish. The only indication that it is Danish or Spanish pork is by two little letters elsewhere on the packaging."
Undeterred, Shane took to social media and shared his pictures and Iceland messaged him to say that his feedback would be passed onto the relevant department.
In a statement, Iceland said it complies with all packaging and labelling laws in Ireland and the EU.
"In accordance with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, by the regulation (EC) No 1580/2007, information particulars required must be shown legibly and obviously on one side of the packaging, which is shown on Glendarra rasher packaging.
"Glendarra packaging also shows the ‘Processed and packaged in Ireland’ logo which clarifies that the product was packaged in Ireland which complies with regulations. Iceland Ireland is committed to continuing to support local suppliers and Irish products as we expand our store portfolio," it said.