Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (686)

Patricia Ryan


686. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he plans to review the 30-month rule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2344/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There is no rule limiting the upper age of cattle for beef production. However, meat processors do make in-spec bonus payments in respect of cattle which meet certain market specifications demanded by retail customers. The 30-month age limit is one of these criteria.

Such specifications are entirely a commercial matter, and are not conditions imposed by my Department.

It should be noted, however, that certain third countries impose a 30-month age limit in respect of beef imports and this will be specified in the veterinary health certificate which will accompany beef exports to those countries.

In September 2019, as part of the beef sector agreement consensus was reached between stakeholders on a range of issue, including two which related to the bonuses for age limits and in-spec bonus criteria:

- the introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to then had not received any bonus;

- an independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector. This report is at an advanced draft stage.

The details of this agreement and relevant documents relating to the work of the Taskforce are publicly available on my Department’s website.