EU Officially Registers Irish Grass Fed Beef PGI

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has today (Wednesday, November 29) announced that the application for an all-island protected geographical indication (PGI) for Irish Grass Fed Beef has successfully concluded.

The final stage came with the publication of the EU Regulation registering the PGI today in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This means that the PGI status will officially come into force 20 days following this publication.

Irish Grass Fed Beef

Minister McConalogue said that PGI status will help differentiate Irish beef’s premium position in key markets “due to the exceptional quality and sustainability of our pasture-based production system and bring added value to our beef”.

Irish Grass Fed Beef includes cattle that derive at least 90% of their feed intake from grass. This is primarily grazed grass, with winter feeding of silage and hay.

The cattle must spend a minimum of 220 days per year throughout their lifetime grazing pasture.

Only carcasses from certain higher-grade beef animals are eligible to be classified as Irish Grass Fed Beef as follows:

  • Steers and heifers aged up to 36 months with conformation better than O- and fat score between 2+ and 4+;
  • Beef cows of up to 120 months with conformation better than O+ and with fat score between 2+ and 5.

Minister McConalogue acknowledged the commitment and efforts of everyone who has worked to attain this status over the past four years.

“I’m particularly delighted that this will apply on an all-island basis and include farmers both here and in Northern Island also.

“This is a great example of the close cooperation on agriculture matters between my department with our Northern Ireland and UK counterparts,” he said.

Bord Bia

The minister said that his “immediate priority” now is to work with Bord Bia and stakeholders “to ensure maximum benefits can be derived from Irish Grass Fed Beef’s protected status for farmers, processors and exporters and our economy”.

Jim O’Toole, Bord Bia chief executive, said that today’s official announcement is postitive news for the Irish beef sector.

“From spring 2024, we plan to embark on a marketing campaign to promote the PGI for Irish grass-fed beef to key customers in European markets.

“The initial focus will be around building awareness among trade customers, followed by targeted consumer marketing when product is available in market.

PGI status is widely recognised in continental markets, and Bord Bia will leverage this opportunity for the benefit of Irish beef farmers and the wider beef sector,” he said.

Achill Island Sea Salt

Meanwhile, Minister McConalogue has confirmed that the application for a protected designation of origin (PDO) for Achill Island Sea Salt has been successful.

The European Commission regulation advising of the registration of the produce as a PDO has also been published today in the Official Journal of the European Union and will come into force in 20 days time.

Achill Island Sea Salt

PDO is a name given to a product that meets the following criteria:

  • Originating in a specific place, region or, in exceptional cases, a country;
  • A product whose quality or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors;
  • The production steps of which all take place in the defined geographical area.

Achieving PDO status will mean that producers of Achill Island Sea Salt may use the PDO logo on their products.

Minister McConalogue congratulated Achill Island Sea Salt on their successful application.

“PDO status provides both recognition of the exceptional quality and unique characteristics of this hand harvested sea salt from the waters around Achill Island and reflects the dedication of our local producers,” he said.

Ireland has eight registered PDO/PGI food product names: Clare Island Salmon (PGI); Imokilly Regato (PDO); Timoleague Brown Pudding (PGI); Connemara Hill Lamb (PGI); Waterford Blaa (PGI); Oriel Sea Salt (PDO); Oriel Sea Minerals (PDO) and Sneem Black Pudding (PGI).

(Source – Agriland – Aisling O Brien – 29/11/2023)

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