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Minister Couglan seeks EU action on pigmeat sector

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., has requested Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel to take immediate action to support the pigmeat sector through increasing export refunds for fresh and frozen pigmeat. She has contacted the Commissioner on the matter and her officials have also been in intensive contact with like-minded Member States and the Commission Services in the run up to this week's Management Committee Meeting.

The Minister had emphasised that, while the pig sector was traditionally a low profit margin business, increases in feed prices combined with an unfavourable dollar-euro exchange rate have lead to increased pressure on producers.

Minister Coughlan has already asked Bord Bia to intensify its work in the pigmeat sector and was providing additional funding to Bord Bia to carry out an enhanced programme of promotion on the home and export market. This should help to maintain a firmer market for pork and bacon over the coming months.

The Minister is fully committed to provide consumers with information on the origin of pork and bacon at the point of purchase. She was working with the Minister for Health and Children on draft legislation that will require the country of origin to be shown on pigmeat and other meats. A public consultation on the draft is currently being conducted on the website of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Minister Coughlan added that the pig sector had shown great resilience in the past and had achieved exceptional efficiencies at farm level. She was fully committed to seeing it returned to normal profitability as soon as possible.

15 October, 2007

Date Released: 15 October 2007