In response to strong criticism by the Restaurants Association of Ireland over the scrapping of the Féile Bia initiative by an Bord Bia, IFA president Padraig Walshe said: “The facts are that the Féile Bia Scheme fell down because restaurants failed to support the initiative and failed to comply with the requirements regarding the use of Irish meat in their businesses.”
Mr Walshe said that out of several thousand restaurants across the country fewer than 100 were prepared to participate in a renewed Féile Bia scheme that required the use of only Irish meats in their establishments. At the end only eight restaurants were in full compliance with the Féile Bia requirements on Irish meat.
The IFA president added: “It was a great shame that restaurants, hotels, and catering outlets had not embraced the Féile Bia concept and fully supported the use of Irish beef, lamb, pork, and chicken in their businesses.”
He said consumers can only conclude that restaurants have something to hide by not being transparent on the origin of the meats on their menus. Consumers are entitled to know and he encouraged them to be upfront and always ask their local restaurant where the meat comes from.
Mr Walshe continued: “We can all be justifiably proud of the quality of all our Irish meats and the thousands of jobs the sector supports.”
The IFA president pointed out that restaurants did not support the scheme and did not provide one cent in financial support towards its promotion. He concluded: “All of the promotional money for the scheme came from farmer levy contributions to Bord Bia.”