ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Organic Producer Considers Setting up Poultry Club

by 5m Editor
23 December 2010, at 12:08a.m.

IRELAND - Following receipt of a letter from the food safety authority over slaughter procedures, one small producer of organic poultry is considering her options.

An organic poultry producer is considering the establishment of a 'geese and turkey club' next Christmas to circumvent controls on the slaughter of birds, according to Irish Times.

The idea has been advanced by Jenny McNally who runs an organic farm at Balrickard, County Dublin. She quit the Christmas geese and turkey trade this year because of what she claimed was over-regulation.

Ms McNally and her husband, Patrick, have been selling organic geese and turkeys to customers for the past 20 years but stopped keeping fowl because of what she says was the pressure being exerted on small producers by the authorities.

She said: "I received a letter in June from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland saying I would have to register with the local authority if I wanted to continue killing and processing on the farm.

"I phoned them and was told I would either have to set up a processing line here on the farm or bring my fowl for killing to a designated plant in Carlow."

Because the farm raises only 60 turkeys and 100 geese, it could not justify the cost of establishing its own processing line, she said.

"There is also the other issue of how long birds should be 'hung' before eaten and the loss of a traditional method of producing and processing fowl in small numbers but at high quality," she added.

Ms McNally said she would like to go back into producing and felt this could be done by inviting customers wishing to purchase an organic goose or turkey to join a club and take a share in an individual bird.

She explained: "When the people in the experimental village in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, wanted to drink raw milk they found a legal way to do this by taking shares in the cows and it was then up to them what they did with the milk."

She said a similar move might work with turkeys and geese even if the owners had to supervise or kill the bird themselves.

Ms McNally told Irish Times she and her husband will continue to sell vegetables at the Temple Bar and other farmers' markets and will decide on their club idea next year.

A Food Safety Authority of Ireland spokeswoman said it had written to the McNallys in June but said it had not stopped the couple processing. But there were rules covering small producers.

The Department of Agriculture said the couple's farm was certified by the Organic Trust Ltd as organic producers and they had in the past engaged in the organic production of geese.

"However, they decided of their own volition to cease production," the statement noted.