National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Press Release - Proof of urgent retail need for Red Tractor qualification beef........

20th March 2013

Region: Northern Ireland

Cattle backed by full farm assurance credentials, which confirm the impeccable UK origin which guarantees their beef can be retailed under the increasingly important Red Tractor label, are leading the price lift which, if it continues, could help re-build Northern Ireland’s rickety beef sector.

And the National Beef Association (NBA) would like everyone interested in the wellbeing of the Province’s beef industry to understand the implications of this dramatic new development.
“It is obvious that consumers are fed up with being tricked by the sleight of hand that has become common within some divisions of the processing sector - or by the deceitful words and phrases used by clever salesmen to make some retail products appear to be much better than they actually are,” explained the NBA’s Northern Ireland chairman, Oisin Murnion.

“When so much horsemeat has been sold as beef, and when the origin of beef sold within Northern Ireland has become so confused, it is any wonder that consumers are demanding that the beef they buy is fresh and honest and retail interest has focused on Red Tractor qualified FQAS cattle because they alone can reassure customers that their purchase carries maximum provenance – which put simply means born, reared, processed and packed entirely within the boundaries of Northern Ireland itself?”
The proof is in the price, says the NBA. Only Red Tractor qualified, NI born, cattle can qualify for the 8p per dwkg bonus that processors guarantee to pay on top of their bid price for steers and heifers that are also UTM, will deliver carcases weighing between 280kg-380kg and which classify above average for both confirmation and finish.

In addition retail insistence that only farm assured beef has a place on their shelves has yoked a discount of at least £70 a head onto non-FQAS cattle while some processors will not buy any non-assured stock at all.

And on top of this there has already been a 70 per cent reduction in the number of nomad stores trucked in from the South for finishing on NI farms and even fewer are expected to be purchased this week, next week, and beyond because processors simply will not want them when they are finished.
“The best prices are being paid on well produced, well presented, Red Tractor cattle of unblemished NI origin and it is these that are leading the charge towards a cross-Province commercial cattle average of at least 380p later this spring,” said Mr Murnion.
“This very necessary price leap is being fuelled by processors, who are desperate to show their biggest retail customers they are in charge of their supply chain, and that nothing nasty, either in country of origin or DNA terms, can slip through.”

“Supply networks that cover a range of EU countries have been dropped and this most welcome development is still gaining momentum because the biggest retailers, some of whom have been let down many times by previously trusted suppliers, have become angry and are making it extremely clear that beef processors must deliver orders that are 100 per cent correct.”

For more information contact:
Oisin Murnion, NBA Northern Ireland chairman.
Tel: 02841 765082