The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has claimed that changing an existing EU financial transparency directive would allow for any excess profiteering by meat processors to be exposed.

The country-by-country reporting directive only requires multinational companies with revenues exceeding €750m to disclose key details in its operations in the EU.

These details include the entities’ subsidiaries, their turnover, the number of workers they employ and their profits before tax.

Amending the directive to apply to unlimited companies would give a look into the goings on in the unlimited multinationals, including some meat processors, the ICSA said.


“This directive is a welcome move by the EU to bring more transparency to the operations of key large-scale operators in the food chain, but it is vital that no leeway is allowed to dodge its provisions,” ICSA president Dermot Kelleher stated at the group’s AGM this week.

“Companies such as certain meat processors avoid having to file detailed returns to the companies office, because of their unlimited status.

“This is making the task of understanding who gets what in the food chain very complex and challenging. We don’t have transparency over where the profits from beef go, for example.”

Cautious welcome

The ICSA welcomed the directive, which has yet to be transposed into Irish national law, cautiously.

The farm group cited concerns over potential lobbying and called on policymakers to avoid watering the transparency obligations down.

“For too long, farmers have been badly treated in the food chain and have seen their margins decimated,” Kelleher went on.

“It is time now to put pressure on retailers and processors to treat farmers fairly and the first step is to shine a light on who makes money out of farm products like meat, dairy and vegetables.”