Transparency call on factory insurance
Farmers are calling for more clarity as stark differences continue to emerge in insurances charges between meat factories across the country.
The ICSA said the processors should provide figures as a group on the amount collected under the insurance charge and the monies paid out as a result of "unacceptable carcases".
Edmond Phelan, the ICSA's beef chairman, said farmers have been contacting them looking for more transparency on the benefits to farmers.
The body estimates charges may be costing farmers as much as €3.7m a year based on an average price of €2.25 a head. However, it points out that charges vary from €1.50 to €5 per head in some plants. "If the amount of money collected is broadly similar to the amount paid out, then ICSA will accept the assertion that this is in the farmers' interests," he said. "It would also help restore trust if the meat industry could explain why some factories charge up to €5 for prime animals, while others only charge €1.50."
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) points out that the insurance or post-mortem contingency decision is made at the point of slaughter as a protection in the loss of value if the carcase is condemned by officials.
"The deduction is part of the terms of trade of the individual processing companies and the amount is decided at that level and can vary from plant to plant, probably due to kill profile, such as prime verses cow kill, level of condemnations experienced and so on," it stated.
MII stated it does not have national figures on the levels of condemnations at plants.
"It is important to point out however, that condemnation can occur for the live animal at ante-mortem stage, for the carcase, carcase side, quarter and offal at post-mortem stage or subsequently at boning hall stage in cuts due to muscle abcesses or darker cutters."