In the EU market, there is a common set of rules governing the production & marketing of pigmeat within the EU. The aim is to ensure the availability of high quality product for the marketplace and a reliable income for farmers.
Pigmeat production in the EU centres on large-scale family farm units, where best-in-class breeding and rearing conditions optimise animal health and welfare, food safety and meat quality. Pigs are reared in highly controlled indoor housing systems, which operate according to strict animal welfare and food safety legislation laid down by the EU.
EU food safety standards are extremely high. No growth hormones are allowed in the EU. The use of antibiotics and other medicines is strictly controlled and can only be used when absolutely necessary. No residual medicine can enter the food supply chain.
The EU food law has strict laws in relation to quality assurance, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. To demonstrate these standards in action we are using Irish pigmeat market as a showcase for the industry.
Pork production in Ireland is entirely centred on family farms, which are passionately committed to excellence in production. In addition to the EU's mandatory standards, Irish pork exports meet the standards set by Ireland's Pigmeat Quality Assurance Scheme. In 2019, some 300,000 tonnes of pork was exported from Ireland, worth close to €1 billion. Exports of pork from Ireland have more than doubled over the past eight years, with discerning Asian markets such as China and Japan key drivers of growth. Asia now accounts for over 30% of Irish pork exports.