May 22, 2023
IFA warns of potential soaring chicken prices as EU considers poultry welfare recommendations
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has warned that chickens could reach a price of EUR 25 (~US$27; EUR 1 = US$1.08) if the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) stringent poultry welfare recommendations are incorporated into EU legislation, Irish Farmers Journal reported.
The IFA has renewed its concerns regarding the authority's proposals, urging a comprehensive examination of the economic and environmental sustainability of the poultry sector before implementing new welfare rules.
The EFSA issued a scientific opinion on poultry, outlining suggestions to reduce house stocking rates and growth rates in order to guide the EU in the process of updating animal welfare standards. Nigel Sweetnam, chairman of IFA Poultry, said that the EFSA needs to consider the broader impact of these recommendations beyond welfare alone.
Sweetnam highlighted the potential consequences of the proposed changes, including a fourfold increase in energy requirements and doubling of feed, which could lead to a significant rise in chicken prices. He said this could result in a 2 kg chicken costing EUR 25 (~US$27) for consumers.
The IFA chair warned that imposing higher standards on EU and Irish farmers could have adverse effects, including a decline in domestic production and a subsequent surge in poultry imports. He expressed concern over the lack of control over farming practices for imported chicken from outside the EU.
Sweetnam said that if retailers or the EU wants to drive this initiative, they must be made aware that the sector's survival is hanging on a knife's edge if these recommendations were to be implemented.
The potential increase in costs would be a result of reduced poultry stocking rates and stricter limits on broiler growth rates, Sweetnam explained. He also highlighted the fact that recent price hikes in poultry products follow decades of retailer price cuts. While acknowledging the rise in production costs, Sweetnam pointed out that chicken and egg prices had declined over a 20-year period prior to the recent increases.
- Irish Farmers Journal