Beef Plan asks for ‘clarity’ from UK’s groceries adjudicator

The Beef Plan Movement is asking for clarity from the UK groceries code adjudicator after comments she made in relation to an unnamed UK retailer selling steaks at a loss.

Christine Tacon was speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday, Tuesday, November 5, when she commented that the retailer in question sold “every [steak] at a loss” but was nonetheless “paying the supply chain the right price”.

Beef Plan has challenged these comments, with spokesperson Dermot O’Brien asking Tacon for “clarity” on the statements, and “clarification on profit margins on other meat cuts for sale with this UK retailer, including beef mince”.

The Beef Plan Movement is also asking for the retailer’s identity to be revealed.

During the committee meeting yesterday, Tacon said that the retailer in question told her: “We may as well be putting money with sellotape on every single steak sell.

“Ms. Tacon explained during her audience with the joint Oireachtas committee that the same UK retailer was ‘making sure’ the supply chain was in receipt of the right price. Ms. Tacon must ask who in the supply chain is getting the right price?” O’Brien said.

He continued: “Every beef farmer in Ireland is completely aware of their financial loss over the past 12 months, as the primary producers both in the UK and Ireland are struggling to meet their costs of production, bank loan repayments and other family financial commitments.

In Ireland, beef finishers have lost in the region of €200/head.

“The Beef Plan Movement is requesting that Ms. Tacon provide back-up data to support her claims,” O’Brien added, arguing that “Ms. Tacon’s statements were insensitive to the beef finishers and weanling producers in Ireland, as beef farmers are under tremendous financial pressure”.

“There is certainly unfair trading occurring, as the primary producer is still not being respected, nor are they in receipt of a fair price,” O’Brien concluded.