Meat factories warned against using Covid crisis to cut prices

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The meat factories have been warned against using the continuing Covid-19 crisis as cover to slash beef prices.

Suggestions by Meat Industry Ireland (MII) that delays in the Covid-19 testing process could impact operations at meat plants and thereby hit cattle and sheep prices were slammed by ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham and IFA leader Tim Cullinan.

“Farmers are used to processors using any excuse in the book to cut prices, but there is no reason why disruption caused by testing delays should lead to price cuts,” Mr Graham said.

“We know that consumer demand hasn’t dropped and that most factories complain about having surplus capacity. The slack could easily be taken up by factories where testing has been completed without imposing further hardship on farmers,” the ICSA representative added.

IFA president Tim Cullinan described MII’s comments as “inflammatory and wrong”.

“While it is clear that we need quicker Covid-19 test results, to link this with prices to farmers is unacceptable,” Mr Cullinan said.



by Margaret Donnelly and Declan O’Brien

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