SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has welcomed progress towards extending an application for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Irish Grass-fed Beef to include beef produced in Northern Ireland. The Mid Ulster MLA received an Assembly written answer recently from the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (AERA) Minister detailing the all-island work towards the North being included in any PGI designation for Irish grass-fed beef.
Mr McGlone said, “I welcome the work being done across the island to ensure that beef produced in Northern Ireland can be included in an application for PGI status for Irish Grass-Fed beef.
“In December last year I arranged an online meeting between representatives of the Ulster Famers’ Union and the Irish Government Minister Charlie McConalogue where this issue was discussed in some detail.
“In his response to my Assembly question the AERA Minister has confirmed that, following further meetings with Minister McConalogue, it was agreed that departmental officials north and south would work to support an application for the designation.
“A project group led by the Livestock and Meat Commission, and including Departmental officials and industry representatives, is now working to develop a grass-fed standard in the North to allow for an amendment to the proposed PGI to include Northern Irish beef.
“Ongoing engagement between the departments and the Livestock and Meat Commission and Bord Bia will continue, and progress towards the designation is to be monitored.
“It is important that this work continues, and that a grass-fed standard is implemented in the North as quickly as possible.
“This will mean that beef produced here will also be able to get the protected status and the advantage it deserves in the marketplace as a premium product.
“I will continue to lobby the department to take all the steps necessary to ensure that PGI status for Irish Grass-fed Beef will include beef produced in Northern Ireland.”