Irish beef farmers' long wait on protected geographical indication (PGI) status for their Irish grassfed beef has finally come to an end with publication of the PGI standard expected to be published by mid-December this year.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced this week that the European Commission has confirmed that it has finalised the opposition procedure on the application for a PGI for grass-fed Irish beef.
Under EU quality schemes, the names of products for which an intrinsic link exists between product qualities or characteristics and geographical origin are protected. This PGI for Irish Grass Fed Beef will operate on an all-island basis.
The three-month opposition procedure which was published on 4 August closed on 4 November. The Commission has confirmed that no opposition was received and the application moves to the final stage of adoption and registration.
The Minister commented: “I am delighted that the European Commission has confirmed that a major milestone has been reached in our grass-fed PGI application. This is tremendous news and is a huge endorsement of the qualities and sustainability of our grass-fed beef.
"I acknowledge the work of my Department, which initiated the process some time ago, the work of Bord Bia as joint applicant on behalf of producers and stakeholders who participated in the process and helped to bring the application to this stage.
"I also acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the UK and Northern Ireland and the joint applicant the Livestock and Meat Commission, who participated in helping to make this an all-island application.”
The Minister added: “A PGI status for Irish Grass Fed Beef will help to bring enhanced recognition of the sustained efforts and know-how of our farmers and processors to produce a quality grass-fed beef product.
"Once this PGI is formally adopted and registered, it’ll be important that the marketing opportunities of this recognition are harnessed and the benefits of our grass-fed beef can be communicated to the discerning consumer who value quality and sustainability.
"As a next step, my Department will be engaging with Bord Bia on the establishment of a PGI monitoring group in anticipation of the conclusion of the process.”
Bord Bia chief executive Jim O’ Toole commented: “This is very positive news from the Commission. Achieving PGI status for Irish grass-fed beef has been a long-held ambition for the Irish beef industry.
"Bord Bia has been preparing for PGI status over several years, from submitting the application to conducting market intelligence to best understand attitudes to PGIs.
"We have marketing plans in development for PGI Grass Fed Irish Beef and will leverage this opportunity for the benefit of Irish beef farmers and the wider beef sector.”