The first protected geographical indication (PGI) Irish grass-fed beef products were placed on supermarket shelves this Tuesday in Italy.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue attended the supermarket in Milan to mark the first PGI Irish grass-fed beef product being made available to consumers since its recognition was secured last December.

Minister McConalogue said the occasion marks an important milestone for producers and processors of Irish grass-fed beef.

“It was only last December that Ireland secured this PGI status from the European Union (EU), so seeing products with the PGI mark available to consumers so soon is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in achieving this recognition.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Bord Bia CEO, Jim O'Toole marking the placing of Irish Grass Fed Beef on supermarket shelves in Milan, Italy.

“Last month, I marked the recognition of this PGI award on a suckler farm in Co Donegal and to see it being marketed on the supermarket shelf here in Italy further substantiates the farm-to-fork credentials of our Irish beef products,” he said.

The minister added that the EU quality scheme, which facilities PGI status, is important in communicating the qualities of certain European products.

“This PGI means that everyone that purchases beef grown from Ireland’s pasture-based production system can be satisfied of the product’s unique characteristics linked to its place of origin.

‘Hard won’

“The PGI mark on pack has particular resonance with Italian consumers making this a significant first launch and I look forward now to seeing its progress in this and many more markets in the future,” he said.

From L to R: Denis Drennan, president, Irish Creamery, Milk Suppliers Association, Francie Gorman, president, Irish Farmers Association, Giorgio Pellegrini, president of Butchers Association of Milan, and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue marking the availability of Irish Grassl Fed Beef (PGI) on Italian supermarket shelves.

Chief executive officer of Bord Bia Jim O’Toole said the PGI represents recognition of how Irish farmers produce beef to the highest standards.

“This recognition is hard won, but well-deserved and very positive news for our sector.

“We will continue to explore all market opportunities that PGI status presents, specifically focusing on markets and customers offering the best potential for Irish farmers and processors,” he said.