Traceability at risk from UK sheep imports warn ICSA
The ICSA has warned that high levels of sheep imports from Northern Ireland and Britain raises serious questions around labelling and the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme.
The association's sheep chairman John Brooks pointed out this week that processors in the Republic imported 3,680 tonnes of sheep meat last year, of which 3,395 tonnes came from Britain.
The figures were supplied by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed in response to a Dáil question from Tipperary TD Jackie cahill.
"If you calculate on the basis of a 20kg lamb carcass this equates to approximately 170,000 sheep," said Mr Brooks.
"This also equates to approximately one full month's lamb kill," he added.
"If you add to this the significant number of live sheep imported for direct slaughter from Britain, it raises serious questions and doubts as to traceability and labelling. It also casts a cloud over 'Origin Green' and the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme," Brooks claimed.
There has been growing farmer frustration at the low prices being quoted by factories for new season lamb this Easter. Factories quoted a top of €6.20/kg this week, with the small numbers available in the marts making up to €125-128/hd.
IFA's sheep chairman John Lynskey reiterated that a price of €7/kg for spring lamb was essential for early season producers.