Another beef processor has been shamed after it reportedly imported tonnes of Polish beef into the United Kingdom.
Processor Doherty & Gray has been criticised by Northern Irish beef producers for importing beef during the Covid-19 crisis as it has a 'detrimental impact' on the sector.
It comes as UK beef processor ABP came under criticism after it supplied hundreds of tonnes of imported Polish beef to supermarket chains earlier this month.
Beef producers have now spoken directly to Doherty & Grey to express 'frustration and disappointment' at their decision, according to the Ulster Farmers Union.
The UFU presidential team said Doherty & Gray’s have 'disregarded' local farmers: "The polish beef industry is under watch from the European Commission after recent reports of poor hygiene practices and when consumers purchase polish beef, they’ve no idea of the traceability or quality of the product.
"The only thing they can be certain of is that it was born, reared and slaughtered in Poland.”
Doherty & Gray has now been urged to reconsider their sourcing policy. Producers are also appealing to retailers and meat merchants to source product locally.
“We urge all local retailers and butchers to seriously consider their beef sourcing policies," the UFU presidential team added.
"Now more than ever there is a greater need to support your local beef farmers who are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of Covid-19.
"Yet they continue to work endlessly, producing high-quality food for the nation and ensuring it gets moved off farm so that it can reach consumers.”
In response to the UFU's comments, a spokesperson for Doherty & Gray said it 'has and always will' support Northern Irish farmers.
“Like many businesses in the food processing industry, Doherty & Gray has a commercial division within their business which trades in beef and pork products from different marketplaces and this includes the import and export of beef and pork products within the EU.
"All these products are clearly identified and sold as product from the country of origin," the spokesperson said.
“Doherty & Gray have discussed this matter with the UFU and would like to refute their claims that our company has disregarded local farmers."