Bord Bia says it cannot insist on the use of Irish grain in its proposed grass-fed beef standard, and does not have a mechanism to exclude genetically modified (GM) feedstuffs from the diets of qualifying animals.
Responding to queries from the Farming Independent, Bord Bia said the "grass-fed standard doesn't examine the other feeds consumed by the animal other than to quantify them".
"The Bord Bia standards for our dairy, beef and lamb schemes contain specific criteria relating to the sourcing, handling and management of animal feed to ensure the safety and hygiene of the feed. Bord Bia does not impose requirements on the origin of this feed," a spokesperson said.
The Irish Grain Growers (IGG) has criticised the absence of a requirement to use locally-produced grain as part of the proposed marketing initiative.
"Why are Bord Bia not promoting the use of Irish grains in Irish beef production? We should be promoting beef from Irish pastures and tillage fields," IGG said.
"We should be pushing for a closed-loop system of Irish family farmed beef production where all elements of the process are transparent and traceable to Irish soil.
"Many family farms have both tillage and beef systems; this would be the perfect synergy to promote rather than promoting a single system."
But Bord Bia said it was prohibited by State aid rules from "requiring the use of Irish feeds/grains as a requirement in any of the standards".
"Bord Bia does not operate a quality assurance scheme for tillage and therefore does not have any mechanism that would facilitate a requirement to use Irish grains," the food marketing body added.
However, IGG rejected Bord Bia's explanation and questioned how Irish grass-fed beef could justifiably be marketed as a green and sustainable product when over 20pc of the qualifying animals' feed (calculated on a dry-matter basis) could include GM ingredients imported from South America or North America.
"In the current climate where the EU policy direction is to halt the biodiversity crash, reduce GHG emissions and reduce food miles, it's illogical to promote a monocrop while also failing to address the source of feed/grains for Irish beef production," IGG stated.
"The PGI status achieved for Irish whiskey and some spirits did not include the necessity to use all Irish grain but did include the necessity to use cream from Irish cows."
Meanwhile, the IFA is seeking a meeting with Teagasc regarding the increased use of imported maize in dairy rations.
The heightened focus on imported cereals comes as the harvest kicks off across the south and south-east.
There are serious concerns among cereal growers that yields this year will be well back on normal as a result of the drought in April and May.
The latest Teagasc forecast suggests that overall grain output this harvest will be back 20pc on 2019 to around 1.8 million tonnes. This is down 400,000 tonnes on last year.