Bord Bia has hit back at British claims that as much as 90% of its beef has not been through an adequate farm assurance scheme.

The Irish food agency's European director, Michael Murphy, hit back at accusations that a break down in the inspection system meant that farms were not being checked properly for compliance with farm assurance standards.

But Robert Forster, chief executive of the UK's National Beef Association, said one major retailer had already reduced the amount of Irish beef it buys because of the problem.

He claimed the multiple had been grateful for information from the NBA, which he believes points to a failure in due diligence over Irish beef supplies. Forster is keen for other retailers to follow suit.

"The industry is cross because the Irish are likely to get out of this with blarney. It is a due diligence failure - and that is an essential part of the protective armoury of a large multiple. We don't know yet whether it's just a technicality."