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Agriculture Committee calls for statutory code of conduct for grocery goods sector

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has this morning called for a statutory code of conduct in the grocery good sector, underpinned by an independent supermarket Ombudsman and with access to cost-effective legal supports for small and medium enterprises.

23 October 2013  

The Committee also calls for legislation to be introduced to force the publication of profits and turnovers of the large multiples and large processors operating in Ireland. The recommendations form part a report on the Grocery Goods Sector, entitled ‘Increasing equity and transparency in producer-processor-retailer relationships’, which was published this morning.

Other recommendations include that:

  • In light of the proposed CAP reform, regarding producer groups, any obstacles that prevent these groups from negotiating in an organised way should be removed.
  • A minimum pricing order on the sale of alcohol be introduced and that the below cost selling of staples such as milk be prohibited under the new proposed code of conduct.
  • Price observatory systems currently in place in France, Spain and Belgium be closely monitored to assess their contribution to equitable pricing structures.
  • Tighter rules for labelling be put in place as a matter of priority and, that in all cases of ‘own brand products’, there must be a prominent display detailing the processor code and country of origin of the product.

Committee Chairman Andrew Doyle TD says: “Farming and the food industry make an enormous ongoing contribution to the Irish economy and, in particular, to rural communities in every corner of the country. It is essential to do everything in our power to ensure an equitable food supply chain for all stakeholders. This report outlines a series of commonsense, practical and actionable recommendations which, if implemented, can bolster the Irish food sector and maintain a vibrant retail sector.

“The Committee is concerned that the large multiples and wholesalers appear to be exerting undue pressure on pricing on producers. We believe that rules based regulation is necessary as opposed to principles based regulation, so a statutory code of conduct should be implemented as soon as possible. The Committee believes that a clear, simplified and robust code can safeguard the family farm structure and primary producers, while contributing to a more transparent retail sector.

“The evidence and contributions provided by the witnesses and the Members have shaped this report and provide a valuable insight into the dynamics of the supplier-processor-retailer relationships in the grocery food sector in Ireland. I would like to record my thanks to all the groups who took part in the stakeholder engagement. The Committee hopes the recommendations in this report will be fully considered by the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation as a matter of urgency.”

Download Report on the Grocery Goods Sector

View video clip of Deputy Doyle introducing the report.

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