Wednesday 24 January 2018

Farmers all aflutter as Italian turkeys invade Irish market

Eimear Rabbitte

FARMERS are going cold turkey – because Italian bred-birds are now flooding the Irish market.

The number of turkeys slaughtered in Ireland has fallen year-on-year.

And Italian turkeys are to blame, according to the Irish farming and food bodies in Ireland.

It is estimated Irish people will consume 700,000 turkeys this Christmas, and imports from Italy are expected to account for 24pc of those.

There has been a stark decrease in the number of turkeys being slaughtered in Ireland since 2000 – the number fell from 1.2m birds to 765,000 last year.

And Italian turkeys are now making up the difference.

A spokesperson for Bord Bia said Irish turkey numbers peaked in 2005, when 3.8m birds were slaughtered.

“In 2000-2005, we processed on average 3.6m turkeys annually, with a peak of 3.8m in 2005.”

However, the number of turkeys slaughtered over the Christmas kill period has fallen sharply since then and Italian turkeys are to blame for this, said the spokesperson.

The Irish Farmers Association has called on authorities to ensure there is clarity on where the turkeys people buy are coming from.

“It should be clear to consumers exactly where their turkey is coming from,” said an IFA spokesperson.

The turkey industry has collapsed in this country since the ban on selling turkeys at marts was introduced in 1999.

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