Consumer Confidence must be restored urgently in Irish Pork – BREEN.

December 9th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has warned today that consumer confidence must be restored quickly in Irish Pork with several countries throughout the world now removing Irish Pork products from their shelves.

“Ireland’s pig industry is worth €400 per year with exports accounting for approximately €250 of that total with Irish Pork products exported to 25 different countries throughout the world. The sight of Irish Pork products being removed from the shelves of supermarkets and shops throughout the world is reminiscent of the scenes witnessed during the height of the Foot and Mouth crisis which raged in the UK in 2001. Indeed it took the UK industry several years to recover from this outbreak.”

“Furthermore there are 6,000 jobs at risk in the Industry. Already today 900 workers have been warned that they will be laid off at Rossderra Meats in County Offaly and at a time of soaring unemployment it is a situation we can ill-afford.”

“Many of our retailers and butchers throughout this County are also under threat with the Christmas fast approaching we need to get Irish Pork back on sale as soon as possible.”

“There are approximately 500 pig farmers in Ireland and through no fault of their own they are witnessing their businesses being wiped out.”

“The Government must act immediately. Consumers must be reassured on the health implications and there must be a clear statement on the issue of compensation for consumers, retailers and producers. The Agriculture Minister must ensure that Inspectors from a range of agencies involved in the monitoring of food, food products and animal feed work vigorously to resolve the current crisis and ensure that Irish Pork can return to our shelves as soon as possible.”

“As soon as this immediate crisis is dealt with a review of our entire effectiveness of Food monitoring must be undertaken. The facts that we still do not have a single state laboratory service for critical PBC test results must be addressed. A major marketing initiative must also be undertaken by Bord Bia world wide.”

“Fine Gael will be seeking Government accountability when this matter in discussed tomorrow afternoon on the floor of the House and we will be highlighting these issues.”

“This is the greatest crisis facing the Good Name of Irish Food Products at home and abroad since the BSE crisis. The same level of urgency must be shown by Government as was witnessed during the height of the efforts to keep Foot and Mouth out of this Country. No stone must be left unturned to restore the good name of Irish Pork and Bacon.”