August 18, 2014


Tesco decides not to sell mixed-origin Irish beef




Tesco will not sell beef from livestock which are born in the Republic of Ireland but fattened for slaughter in Northern Ireland.


Explaining its decision, the supermarket giant claims that shoppers find mixed-origin meat confusing. "Our research consistently tells us that customers want products that come from simple supply chains that are easy for them to understand, and are clearly labelled," said Tesco group's commercial director, Kevin Grace, in his letter to Fine Gael's Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Mairead McGuinness.


The development will likely affect farmers burdened by plummeting beef prices and the erosion of the traditional north-south trade in "nomad" cattle. Only 6,000 young cattle have been exported north for fattening in 2014, compared with 40,000 a few years ago due to the recent horsemeat scandal.


In the meantime, UK's supermarket chains are refusing to sell beef which has more than one country of origin on the label. This had led to farm organisations calling on Irish agriculture minister, Simon Coveney, to persuade these organisations into resuming the take-up of mixed-origin beef, in order to ease pressure on cattle farmers.