Following reports earlier this month which stated that Irish consumers are being misled about the origins of their turkeys, Liam Aylward, MEP for Ireland East has called on the European Commission to ensure that their report on the origin labelling of meat and poultry addresses the concerns of both producers and consumers.

Speaking on the issue of food labelling and transparency in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this evening, Liam Aylward, MEP for Ireland East stated:

“While it is not mandatory at present to label country of origin, there is legislation coming down the track in 2014 which will make it mandatory to label imported products, including poultry, with its country of origin. A year from now the European Commission is to submit to the Parliament a report on the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat and poultry. It is essential that the Commission address the joint concerns of local producers and consumers if we intend to have a fair and equitable internal market in the EU.”

The Ireland East MEP also called on the European Commission and European Leaders to ensure that local producers are supported and that rural industry is protected under the ongoing CAP Reform:

total year-round turkey production in Ireland has fallen from 3.8 million birds a year in 2005 to under one million in 2011 as many producers are struggling to survive and this year has been particularly challenging with a bad harvest resulting in increased feed costs. Local and traditional producers are being squeezed out of the market and rural businesses are suffering. “

MEP Aylward is also a Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, he added that the Reform of the Common Agriculture Policy presents a real opportunity to create a policy which will support and deliver for rural producers and communities.

“Much of the focus in the CAP negotiations at present is on Pillar One and the Direct Payments, the current decline of the turkey industry in Ireland highlights the importance of ensuring that under Rural Development policies in Pillar Two, we have structures in place to assist local producers and businesses and make certain that rural communities remain vibrant and sustainable.”