PGI status an accolade for farmers North and South – Muir

Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir MLA has described the attainment of PGI status within the EU for Irish Grass Fed Beef, similar to that awarded to Champagne, as a tremendous accolade for farmers North and South.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister is jointly hosting an event at the Weir family farm near Lifford in Co Donegal, with Department Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Minister Charlie McConalogue, TD, to mark the recognition of Irish Grass Fed Beef as an all island Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

“The granting of Geographical Indication status for Irish Grass Fed Beef places it on the same pedestal as world-renowned products such as Champagne, Parma Ham, Roquefort Cheese and, of course Irish Whiskey,” Minister Muir said.

“Having a Protected Geographical Indication is a triumph, a recognition of how the unique climate, landscape and practices of a region translates into food and drink, bestowing them with a distinctive taste and character. It is wonderful that the pedigree of Irish Grass Fed Beef has achieved this level of international recognition and an accolade to the hard working agriculture industry.”

Minister Muir paid tribute to both the Livestock and Meat Commission and Board Bia for their collaborative work with processors and producers in progressing the successful application, as well as Minister McConalogue and the Rt Hon Mark Spencer, Defra Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, for the support they gave in achieving this status.

Minister Muir added: “The whole process has been an amazing success, not only by ensuring farmers North and South get the recognition they deserve, but in developing strong working relationships between government bodies North, South, East and West. I hope these relationships are further developed in any future all-island GI applications.”

Minister McConalogue said: “On this very positive day for Irish farmers and Irish beef, marking the registration of the All Island Protected Geographical Indication for Irish grass-fed beef, we are also marking the first of many positive engagements that I look forward to with my Ministerial colleague, Minister Andrew Muir.  I welcome that with the Assembly and Executive back in place, Minister Muir and I are together, here in my home county of Donegal, to mark this substantial achievement for our Island and for our farmers.

“I would like to congratulate the applicants Bord Bia and the Livestock and Meat Commission who have achieved this on behalf of producers and processors across the island. The collaboration between my Department, Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Bord Bia and the Livestock and Meat Commission is reflective of the valuable and ongoing north-south co-operation on agricultural matters and our positive engagements in the interests of farmers and processors across the island.”

The Minister added “Visiting this excellent beef farm in Donegal today is a reminder of the quality and sustainability of Irish beef and why it is in such demand around the world. The primary produce from Irish farmers that goes into creating our internationally respected quality food is the backbone of our agri-food sector. Securing the PGI status is recognition of these premium standards. I look forward to seeing these PGI products on European supermarket shelves and continuing to tell the story of Irish farming to an international audience.”