Any attempt to exclude meat products from EU agri-food promotion would be a betrayal of one of Europe’s most significant indigenous sectors, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.

Cullinan was reacting to comments made by the Commission’s director general of agriculture Wolfgang Burtscher in his address to members of the parliament’s agriculture committee on the EU’s agri-food promotion policy.

The Commission cited the Eurobarometer study of EU citizens and coherence to other EU policies as central to the future promotional policy review. Burtscher was reminded that the Farm to Fork Strategy is not yet an implemented regulation.

Cullinan said: “The World Health Organization is on record that there is no compelling evidence that red meat consumed as part of a balanced diet contributes to cancer. How is the Commission turning their back on science.

“All products from farmers involved in sustainable farming need to be promoted, especially when our livestock farmers continue to operate to ever higher standards of sustainability.

“Any reduction in support for the promotion of their products goes against the commitment of the Commission for more sustainable food production.”

This year’s €182.9m promotional budget sees €86m allocated to promoting organic products, while the organic sector comprises 8% of agriculture across EU member states.