Irish fight back from dioxin scare

Irish meat bosses are working hard to restore markets, following the recent dioxin scare.

The Japanese market remains open to Irish pork, but others, such as Russia, China and South Korea have yet to reopen. The Irish continue to deal with the aftermath of the product recall and government ministers have visited key markets.

"When the recall issues are dealt with, there is a strong faith in the product and exports should resume," said Dan Browne, chairman of Bord Bía.

He was speaking at the launch of the annual Performance and Prospects 2008-09, where it was also announced that Bord Bía intends to "reposition" the well-known slogan 'Ireland, the food island' in a new strategy to boost food sales in both home and export markets.

The impact of the pork recall on the image of Ireland as a safe and reputable supplier of food is not clear, according to Bord Bía. This means that evidence of actions to address perceived food safety risks will be required and the promotion of Ireland as a food island will be reassessed.

Meanwhile, it was good news for beef - the only meat sector that saw increases (7%) in value exports during 2008 to reach E1,687m. Around 99% of exports in value terms stayed in the EU. While the value of beef exports increased, volume declined by 8% to 483,000t but this was more than offset by a 16% increase in prices.

Bord Bía announced ambitious plans to increase the sales value of beef by E170m over the next five years to 2013 by differentiating and repositioning Irish beef in key markets and moving 60,000t up the value chain to secure better prices.

The value of pork, sheepmeat and poultry exports was down in 2008.

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