9 January 1998

Irish beef given an official thumbs-up

IRISH beef supplied to Tesco reaches UK standards, according to an NFU and industry delegation.

The supermarket firm invited NFU deputy president Ben Gill, three other farmers, Alastair McLennan from the Scottish NFU and an independent vet to view its beef controls in Ireland. The aim was to allay concerns that Irish controls fell short of UK standards.

The delegation concluded that all beef was from cattle under 30-months old, specified risk material removal standards were equivalent to the UK and on-farm and meat plant records met traceability requirements.

Mr Gill said a key objective for the NFU was also to ensure that a clear country of origin labelling system was being used by Tesco and that was also found to be satisfactory.

After the trip, Mr Gill called on other retailers to follow Tescos example and identify fresh and frozen meat with the country of origin.