Tests carried out by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) have shown that more than half the bacon on retailers shelves with labelling suggesting it was home-produced is actually of imported origin.
The IFA has now accused retailers and meat companies of misleading consumers by using labelling that implies their products are Irish.
Ireland operates a DNA database of its AI boar stud and this allowed country-of-origin tests to be carried out on 300 samples of pork and bacon products from supermarket shelves. These revealed that 52% of the products were not Irish.
However, many of the products were in packaging that used Irish names and pictures that would suggest to the consumer they were buying Irish.
The IFA has stressed that this is not technically illegal, but said it highlighted ridiculous labelling regulations that allow imported meat be labelled as produced in Ireland if it is cured, salted or processed there.
IFA pigs chairman Pat O’Flaherty said the association wanted to help consumers make informed decisions when they were buying bacon and ham this Christmas.
“It is unacceptable that companies and retailers are using imported pigmeat in their products.,” he said. “In addition some companies and retailers are relying heavily on imagery and branding that would lead the consumer to believe they are buying Irish.”
Like the NPA here in Britain, the IFA wants changes to labelling rules to ensure that the country where the animal is raised is shown on the packet.