Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has raised concerns over reports of a dramatic increase of Polish beef coming into Northern Ireland saying that it is undermining local producer prices and that processors and supermarkets would do well to remember the lessons learned following the horsemeat scandal earlier this year.
Councillor Clarke has been contacted by a number of rural beef cattle farmers in the Castlewellan and Slieve Croob areas and has now written to the Agriculture Minister to highlight local farmer’s concerns.[caption id="attachment_39609" align="alignleft" width="292"] Cllr Patrick Clarke is concerned about the impact of Polish beef imports to Northern Ireland.[/caption]
He said: “I have been contacted in recent weeks by a number of rural beef cattle farmers in the Castlewellan and Slieve Croob areas who have expressed their very serious concerns at the ongoing influx of Polish beef coming into Northern Ireland which is having a detrimental effect on local producer prices.
“The rise of Polish beef imports into Northern Ireland is angering and concerning farmers and many feel it is a deliberate attempt by processors and supermarkets to devalue and reduce the price of local beef. It is widely accepted that Northern Ireland has a world class beef industry and our Farm Quality Assurance scheme ensures that consumers get high quality, safe and traceable beef.
“It is just over a year since some processors and supermarkets embarrassed the beef industry with the horsemeat scandal, and surely their memories can’t be that short that they have already forgotten? Promises were made across the board about shortening the supply chain and sourcing locally, however the latest Polish beef import reports fly in the face of those promises.”
“I have now written to the Agriculture Minister, pressing her to ensure that food is sourced locally for government food contracts. Our farmers work incredibly hard and deserve a fair price for their meat. I am also asking the Agriculture Minister to monitor the volume of Polish beef coming into Northern Ireland and to protect our beef cattle industry from cheaper imported beef which does not have as stringent safeguards and traceability as in Northern Ireland,” added Cllr Patrick Clarke.]]>