FFA requests meeting with UK competition authorities

The ongoing beef protests across Ireland has brought “a number of questions for beef processors, corporate food retailers and corporate food wholesalers forward to be answered”, according to the Northern Ireland lobby group Farmers For Action (FFA).

Sean McAuley, an FFA steering committee member, claimed “corporate abattoirs in Ireland and in the UK seem to set up their own rules and pricing, give or take a few pence to retain the fog on anti-competitive practises”.

As a result FFA have requested a meeting with the UK Competition and Market Authority.

McAuley continued: “This will be an interesting meeting, in that FFA have met the Competition Authorities in Brussels some years back.

The FFA has said “there can be no denying the following are anti-competitive practises”:
  • “In Southern Ireland, Lidl and SuperMacs have stated they do not have a 30 months age limit on quality beef, yet virtually all beef farmers are penalised north and south after crossing this threshold and other age limits set by processors;
  • “Four move limitations in Northern Ireland has never been verified as a requirement by large supermarkets or other UK markets, nor is there any evidence of this in their shopping aisles or wholesale outlets;
  • “Red Tractor bonuses on beef have now disappeared, there are only penalties for not participating – yet many UK markets do not require this.

This is laughable if it wasn’t so serious with many farmers at their wits ends financially, therefore, it is time to see what our UK Competition and Markets Authority are made of – we will not hold our breath as the corporates will no doubt have been there ahead of us.”