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Beef farmers launch "blitz" at Tesco in Naas

They’re protesting new age limits on their products in British supermarkets.

Image: Theresa Newman

BEEF FARMERS HAVE descended on Tesco in Naas this evening in a “blitz” designed to send a message to British retailers.

The protest is to do with new age limits on their products that the Irish Farmers’ Association say are unfair.

Irish farmers are being hit by new restrictions by the multiples who are proposing that that the age limit of bull calf beef be reduced from 16 months to 14 months.

Farmers at this evening’s protests at the Tesco in Naas are planning to usurp the supermarket’s trolleys.

“I’m not sure whether or not they’re planning to put anything into the trolleys,” an IFA spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

Irish farmers argue that the age restrictions would mean that grass could not be fed to the cattle, a method they say is crucial to the quality of Irish meat.

Although British farmers would also be under similar restrictions, British beef is of premium value on British shelves so Irish farmers argue that they can’t afford to take the hit to the same extent.

Tesco for its part has said that there have been no plans to change age restrictions on it’s beef and has no current plans to do so.

“Tesco is a significant supporter of Irish beef farmers; beef exports to Tesco internationally from the Republic of Ireland are c €177m per year, almost 14% of the total value of beef exports,” a statement read this evening.

Speaking at the protest, the IFA’s president Eddie Downey also warned Irish retailers that anger and frustration of farmers is at “boiling point” over reductions in retail and factory prices.

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Downey says that livestock farmers’ incomes were down by 13% to 22% last year.

The IFA’s national livestock chairman Henry Burns said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has “stood back” in the midst of the “beef crisis”.

The IFA say that this evening’s action is planned to be the first of range of protests.

Read: Irish farmers’ anger at ‘decimation’ of income >

Pics: Thousands of farmers rally at Department of Agriculture over beef price cuts >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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