A new research and innovation base in beef and sheep meat processing, Meat Technology Ireland (MTI), has been launched by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.
MTI is a new industry-led initiative with significant funding from Enterprise Ireland that will create a ‘one-stop shop’ for meat processing research and technology. The launch took place at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, today (April 13).
“Innovation 2020, the Government's strategy for research and development, science and technology, recognises the importance of innovation for the agri-food sector," Minister O'Connor said. "Establishing MTI, through Enterprise Ireland, is one of the key initiatives under the Action Plan for Jobs, and will help to build a competitive advantage in the food sector, through investment in research and innovation capability. Its importance is to introduce companies to the expertise in research institutions with the aim of generating innovative technologies leading to job creation.”
Minister Creed said: “MTI has the potential to build on the success of our beef, and sheep sectors. By providing consumer-focused research that can best inform processors and farmers, MTI can be a driver for Ireland’s meat industry as it seeks to meet Food Wise 2025 targets, and mitigate the potential impacts of Brexit.”
CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, said: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy is to support Irish businesses to build scale and expand their reach into international markets and we are delighted to back the establishment of MTI, which will directly support innovation in the agri-food sector and ultimately contribute to export growth.”
Prof Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc, said that MTI, hosted at Teagasc Ashtown, will serve as a hub to co-ordinate all beef and sheep meat processing research needs.
MTI is an €8.1m, five-year research and innovation programme, developed by industry and co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and a consortium of nine beef and sheepmeat processing companies. MTI is hosted by Teagasc at its Ashtown Food Research Facility in Dublin with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Dublin City University (DCU), University College Cork (UCC) and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) involved as research providers. The companies behind the initiative are ABP Ireland, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Dawn Meats Group, Dunbia (Ireland), Hilton Foods Ireland, Irish Country Meats, Kepak Group, Liffey Meats, and Slaney Foods International.
MTI emerged from a five-year research vision from IBEC’s MTI industry group, which was presented to Enterprise Ireland. John Malone was appointed as chairman of MTI last October, with Dr John Colreavy was appointed as director.