Retailers in Ireland are facing a wave of damaging protests by pig farmers as the spotlight on low meat prices shifted away from Britain.

Campaigners in the Republic have called for a consumer boycott of pork and bacon made by Galtee Meats, claiming they are made from imported pigmeat, while

Ulster farmers picketed an Asda store in Cookstown last week over a sausage promotion.

An action committee of former workers and suppliers of Galtee Meats, led by former minister Ned O'Keeffe, a prominent pigmeat producer, called the boycott.

The committee said it was seeking talks with Tesco, Dunnes and other major retailers to press for a Galtee labelling system that would identify the country of origin of the meat.

"Consumers don't want a world-renowned Irish brand selling foreign meat," said the ex-minister as the group staged a picket protest last week outside the Galtee packing plant in Mitchelstown, County Cork. "They are being short-changed."

Breeo Foods, a subsidiary of the Dairygold Co-op, which controls Galtee Meats, refuted the claims and criticised the boycott call as "damaging and counter-productive".

A spokesman claimed that an independent audit by KPMG confirmed Galtee had bought "the same substantial quantity of Irish pigmeat every year since slaughtering operations ceased in 2004, and will do so again this year". He added that Breeo Foods was in talks with Bord Bia, the Irish food agency, about the use of its quality logo carrying the Irish flag on Galtee packaging to underline its commitment to domestic sourcing.

Asda said that the picket by Ulster farmers on Friday 14 September, which was sparked by a promotion on sausages, was misplaced.

"We appreciate that the agrifood industry is facing pressures due to rising feed costs and would like to confirm that there is no impact on the farmgate price to pig producers as a result of this promotion," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, in Britain, pig industry bosses welcomed a round of retail pork price rises last week. They called for similar moves on bacon and sausages.