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Smith Highlights The Importance Of The French Market To Ireland's Food And Drink Industry

Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, highlighted the importance of the French market to Ireland's food and drink industry today at a Bord Bia trade reception in the Embassy of Ireland in Paris.  Minister Smith said "France remains the leading Eurozone market for Irish food and drink products and is one of our biggest customers for lamb, seafood, beef and whiskey. Encouragingly, Irish food and drink exports to France grew by 2.5% in the first eight months of this year and I would like to thank French buyers and Irish suppliers  their commitment during 2010".

Minister Smith said that the level of support provided by Bord Bia to individual food and drink companies cannot be underestimated and he also launched two directories - European Ingredients Directory and a Directory of French Logistics Service Providers and Sales & Marketing Distributors compiled by Bord Bia, which he said "will provide an invaluable source of information for companies doing business in mainland Europe".

The Minister also congratulated Bord Bia on the incorporation of environmental criteria into their Beef Quality Assurance Scheme and impending accreditation to the international specification PAS 2050.  Farms participating in this scheme will be tracked to objectively demonstrate their green production credentials.  "I understand it is the first such scheme in the world to incorporate an objective assessment of the carbon footprint. This will enable Irish beef farmers to demonstrate and even improve on their environmental credentials", he said.

He went on to say that "I am confident that the Irish Agri-food Industry will make the maximum contribution to Ireland's economic recovery over the next few years. It plays a central role in the Irish economy supporting over 150,000 jobs. The Irish food, seafood and drinks industry has shown great resilience in the last year and will I believe lead the way for other industries in the coming years".

Date Released: 09 December 2010