AS THE horsemeat scandal continues to deepen one Limerick butcher says he has seen a big boost in sales due to his farm to fork policy.
Jim Flavin says national and European revelations of horsemeat detected in everything from beefburgers to lasagne to meatballs have been customers’ main topic of conversation.
And there have been many extra customers in his Castletroy and Greenpark shops.
“I’ve seen a big increase since the scandal broke. People want it local,” said Mr Flavin.
“There are a lot of people talking about it. There is genuine concern out there, they want to know exactly where the beef is coming from. They value traceability. They don’t want to be horsing around,” said Mr Flavin, who opened his Castletroy store in 1996.
Ear to the Ground - RTE’s flagship agricultural programme - featured Mr Flavin a couple of years due to his farm to fork business method.
“I buy my cattle just out the road in Newport Mart then bring them back to my own farm in Grange, Ballyneety.
“I finish them off there the way I want them. I then pick the ones I want every week when they are ready to go. They are killed at Eddie Joyce’s in Meelick. Everything is local,” said Mr Flavin.
The meat is then hung for over 21 days. At Mr Flavin’s boning facility in Annacotty business park the meat is then boned and cut by hand.
“I distribute it to my two shops in Castletroy and Greenpark. There is full traceability. How local can you get?” asks Mr Flavin.
His farm is Bord Bia approved and is inspected a couple of times a year to ensure it passes strict guidelines.
“There are very few people doing what I am doing. Some other butchers look for my beef and some restaurants as well,” said Mr Flavin.
The other benefit of full traceability is taste and quality as he knows exactly what the cattle have been eating - a specialised diet of maize grown on the farm. Mr Flavin has a local first policy.
“If I make a few quid I’ll spend it locally and support someone else. It is all about supporting local jobs.”