IFA accuses Irish retailers of 'misleading' customers on imported meat
MORE THAN half the bacon tested by the Irish Farmers Association turned out to be imported meat.
The IFA has accused retailers and meat companies of misleading consumers by using labelling that implies their products are Irish.
DNA tests on 300 samples of pork and bacon products from supermarket shelves found that 52pc of the products were not Irish.
Many of these were in packaging that used Irish names and pictures which would suggest to the consumer they were buying Irish.
The IFA stressed that this was not technically illegal but highlights ridiculous labelling regulations which allow imported meat be labelled as produced in Ireland if it is cured, salted or processed here.
In some cases the products stated produce of Ireland or country of origin Ireland even though the tests proved the meat did not match the DNA profiles in a database of every boar in the Republic of Ireland.
IFA Pigs chairman Pat O'Flaherty said they wanted to help consumers make informed decisions when they were buying bacon and ham this Christmas.
"It is unacceptable that companies and retailers are using imported pigmeat in their products. In addition some companies and retailers are relying heavily on imagery and branding that would lead the consumer to believe they are buying Irish," he said.
The IFA wants changes to labelling rules to ensure that the country where the animal is raised is shown on the packet.
It said that tests on Bord Bia quality assured bacon had shown this meat was actually of Irish origin.