Poultry producers in the Irish Republic are accusing Tesco of using a labelling and display system that misleads consumers into believing imported chicken is Irish.
Around 60 poultry-producing members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have picketed one of Tesco’s major stores in Dublin to highlight their grievance, and a spokesman warned that their “anger and frustration” could prompt further protests unless the conflict was resolved.
The producers are demanding that a “country of origin” labelling system, which they claim Tesco already operates in the UK, be introduced into its 100-plus stores in the Republic. According to Alo Mohan, chairman of the IFA’s poultry committee, Tesco has extensive store displays urging consumers to “buy me, I’m Irish”, but almost 80% of the chicken it sells is imported.
“Irish tricolours adorn the store aisles,” he said, ” together with shamrocks and other green paraphernalia, all suggesting to consumers that they are supporting Irish farmers and the Irish exchequer through their purchases, when in fact they are being bamboozled into doing the opposite.”
An IFA spokesman said talks had been held with Tesco management, but that “promises made have not been kept”. He added: “Producers can no longer stand by and see their industry decimated. We want a commitment from Tesco to introduce a labelling system that will be clear-cut for consumers.”
Tesco declined to comment on the dispute or on what action, if any, it may take.