Tesco rejects new approved 'mixed origin' beef label
The IFA has defended its pursuit of a new labelling system to get beef flowing into Northern Ireland again, despite an outright rejection of the proposal by Tesco.
A senior Tesco executive stated that his organisation had no intention to source "mixed-origin" beef, despite the Northern Irish Department of Agriculture giving a new labelling system its official seal of approval on Friday.
A letter from Tesco group's commercial director, Kevin Grace, in reply to a query from Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness, said that the retailer was "proud" to sell beef that was either from Northern Ireland or the Republic, but that their research "consistently" showed that customers did not want meat from mixed origins.
"They want products that come from simple supply chains that are easy for them to understand, and are clearly labelled. We know that mixed origin labelling can be confusing for our customers and in line with our ongoing work to provide our customers with simpler on-pack messaging and simple supply chains, we do not have plans to source mixed origin beef," he wrote.
"I understand this may not be the response you were hoping for but can assure you we will continue to work with beef producers from Northern Ireland and the Repulic of Ireland as part of our sustainable beef supply," he said.
Ms McGuinness said Tesco's response was "emphatic and regrettable".
She also challenged Tesco to reveal details of its research into consumer preference.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association asked why Italian consumers had no problem understanding the mixed-origin labels on beef from cattle raised in Ireland and finished in Italy.