Wednesday 13 December 2017

We'll gobble 1.7 million foreign turkeys this year

Ronan Byrne, a turkey producer in Athenry
Ronan Byrne, a turkey producer in Athenry
Ronan Byrne, a turkey producer in Athenry

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

IRISH consumers will eat 1.7 million imported turkeys this year, as the number of foreign birds now far exceeds the homegrown variety.

But many diners tucking in this Christmas will be totally unaware that their meat is imported, due to lax labelling regulations which the European Union has only moved to correct in the last few days.

New figures obtained by the Irish Independent show that turkey production in Ireland is a shadow of its former self, with only a quarter as many birds produced as there were a few years ago.

Turkey production in Ireland peaked at 3.8 million in 2005, but last year plunged to 944,000, Bord Bia figures show.

Turkey consumption peaks in December, and Irish people will get through 800,000 turkeys this Christmas alone. However, more than one in five of these will be imported and sold through butchers, wholesalers and catering outlets.

But many consumers are unaware what they are eating is imported, as there is no requirement to label poultry with its country of origin.

The EU last week approved new measures that will from April 2015 give consumers more information about where their meat comes from.

Irish Independent

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