The supermarket chain Aldi has said that "availability issues" have forced it to begin selling Irish beef and pork products processed at UK plants.
Customers are being informed of the change in supply chain in Aldi stores in what appears to be the first effect of the ongoing dispute between farmers and processors on Irish consumers.
Beef farmers have continued to blockade processing facilities in protest at what they deem to be unfair prices offered for their animals. Government efforts to resume crisis talks between the parties have been beset with problems.
In a statement on Thursday, Aldi said: “In light of industry-wide availability issues, to ensure we have a full range of fresh beef and pork products for our customers, some of our Irish beef and pork suppliers have processed Irish beef and pork at their UK based processing facilities, all of which are Quality Assured by Bord Bia.
“This is clearly reflected on our products’ packaging. We have also placed notices in our stores to ensure our customers are fully aware of the situation.”
The announcement followed a warning from Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed earlier that there is a tipping point at which the crisis could cause long term damage to the beef industry.
"We need to pull all the threads together," he told RTÉ radio on Thursday, adding that he hoped talks between the farmers and processors could eventually resume.
“There is a deep sense of frustration. Farmers are feeling mistreated that they are not being given the full picture by the meat industry,” he said.
“I understand the frustration brought on by lack of income. They feel that they haven’t been taken on board as equal partners in the industry.”
However, the Minister said the Government was not in a position to give contractual security to farmers and that the State could not dictate the market.