Kerry Foods has been called on by the IFA to support Irish-produced chicken, as it is believed that chicken sold under the Denny label came from Brazil.

IFA poultry chair Andy Boylan said Irish consumers feel misled by a brand that they have loyalty to.

Kerry Foods has failed to show the same support for locally-produced Bord Bia Quality Assured chicken, he said.

However in response to a query from the Irish Farmers Journal a spokesperson for Kerry Foods said that "we do not source any Denny chicken from Brazil".

"All of our Denny chicken products are sourced from trusted suppliers across the EU, Northern Ireland and the UK.

"Each supplier meets our strict quality criteria and we regularly audit every supplier to ensure the highest standards of quality. Our packaging fully complies with the strict EU labelling regulations.

"The “Made in Wicklow” claim refers to the product being cooked, cooled, sliced, packaged and labelled in Co. Wicklow.

"Our Denny Chicken is fully prepared and packaged on our Shillelagh site, Co Wicklow," the spokesperson said.

Matter of urgency

The IFA poultry chair called on Irish MEPs and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture to ensure that this issue is highlighted and addressed as a matter of urgency at EU legislative level.

The IFA wants the country of origin of the primary source of meat used in prepared foods such as this Denny product to be clearly stated on the packaging to stop misleading Irish consumers, who thought they were buying locally-produced food.

“This loophole in the current labelling legislation that Kerry Foods are exploiting to mislead consumers reinforces the importance of trusting the Bord Bia Quality Assurance label,” he said.

Boylan said the IFA has requested a meeting with Kerry Foods to highlight the grievances felt by poultry producers here.

Margins squeezed

“Poultry farmers have had their margins squeezed, with all inputs increasing by 15% to 30% in the past two years.

"They need an increase to cover their costs and don’t want to see an Irish food company, Kerry Foods, and their brand Denny, which is perceived as an Irish brand, using imported product.

“The Irish consumer values and trusts Irish poultry and all food processors should support locally produced chicken.

“For Kerry Foods to import chicken from across the globe when the most efficiently produced chicken is produced on their doorstep here is a disgrace and needs to be rectified,” he said.

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