The Irish Farmers’ Association has accused discount retailer Lidl of misleading consumers and undermining Irish poultry producers by selling non-Irish poultry as Irish.
While in-store banners over the chilled poultry area includes the Irish flag and claims that poultry is Irish, the actual chill cabinet contains product lines of several origins, it says.
Some is Bord Bia Quality Assured (QA) Irish – and correctly includes the Irish flag within the QA label. Other product is Bord Bia QA, but from Northern Ireland, which does not have the Irish flag in the QA logo, but does have a separate label with an Irish flag.
The IFA is also frustrated that other lines, including crumbed poultry, are not quality assured yet carry a label with an Irish flag. Several of these product lines also carry the Irish-sounding Bally Manor brand.
“This has gone on for quite a while in a lot of the supermarkets including Lidl and Tesco,” IFA poultry chairman Alo Mohan told Poultry World. “All we want to do is ensure that when the consumer purchases something they know exactly what they are buying.”
He explained that poultry with a Bord Bia QA logo is of higher welfare, traceability and environmental standards. “If you mimic that or do anything to copy it, you are trying to dupe the customer and you are taking money from the people who produce to those standards,” he explained.
Lidl told Poultry World that it currently stocks 12 fresh chicken lines under the Bally Manor range. “All are clearly marked with the appropriate Bord Bia logo with regard to country of origin,” Lidl stated in its written response, adding that it stocks seven breaded Bally Manor chicken products which do not carry a Bord Bia logo.
Surveys have shown an increase in “patriotism”, with consumers wanting to buy a product displaying the national flag to support the jobs and the farms of their neighbours during the recent recession.