The number of complaints received by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) relating to the conduct of players in the beef industry has collapsed from its highs during the beef protests of 2019, the Irish Farmers Journal can reveal.

Only six complaints were received by the watchdog this year, which represents a fall of more than thirty-fold on 2019’s figures, when 192 complaints were received in the 12-months leading up to October.

Complaints peaked in September and October of 2019, when around 20 complaints per week were being made against operators in the beef sector.

2020 and 2021 had similarly low figures as the year gone by, with only 22 complaints received over the 24-month period.

Most issues were not listed by the CCPC as being competition-focused.

Issues with marts came up four times in 2020 and twice in 2021 and in 2022.

Food regulator jumps first hurdle

The legislation underpinning the establishment of a new food regulator passed its first stage in Dáil Éireann in December.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue updated the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill to take account of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture’s recommendations on it.

The regulator will be set up to “promote fairness and transparency” in the agri-food supply chain and enforce unfair trading practices banned under EU law.

Processors will be liable for fines of up to €10m for breaching these supply chain rules once the new legislation is signed into law.