Concern as Dept finds mistakes in grading
More than 250,000 cattle were wrongly graded in slaughter plants last year, a major Department of Agriculture investigation has found.
According to information released by the Department, close to 5,000 animals per week slaughtered at the country's 25 export meat plants were given an incorrect classification grade during 2009.
The cattle were graded by the mechanical system in operation at the plants, with payment based on the grade allocated to the carcass.
However, the Department study has now confirmed that the machines are incapable of delivering 100pc accuracy.
A total of 415 inspections were carried out at the meat factories in 2009, with 41,034 graded carcasses being rechecked.
As discrepancies were found on 9pc of the sample, this suggests that 262,000 animals were incorrectly graded last year.
Problems were found in both the conformation and fat scores of the carcasses. More than 9pc were found to have been allocated an incorrect conformation grade, with 9pc also being given an incorrect fat score.
In total, close to one in five animals slaughtered had an incorrect conformation or fat score grade allocated.