Irish beef bosses have rejected claims by the UK's National Beef Association that they are falling down on top-level farm assurance.

Michael Murphy, Bord Bia's European director, said reports that beef from the Republic was not being inspected to EN45011 were completely incorrect.

He told The Grocer that inspections were ahead of schedule, after Cork-based South West Services took up the reins from Efsis earlier this year. "Half our beef volume is now up to EN45011 standard because we started inspections with the biggest farmers."

That is more than enough to cover UK multiples' requirement of about 15%

of Irish beef output. Production for the year is expected to hit 490,000 tonnes, Murphy said.

Some of the systems used by the Irish industry even exceeded top assurance standards, notably traceability and movement monitoring, he added.

He denied that any retailers had cut back on orders because of fears over farm assurance.