Department reveals names of factories fined over breaches of carcase trim rules

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Department of Agriculture today published the names of three meat processors identified with having non-compliances with carcase trim regulations.

The Department said Emerald Isle Foods, Kildare Chilling and KEPAK Clare had carcasses non-compliant in 2018.

The revelations that factories had been fined for non-compliances without farmers being aware sparked huge anger from farm organisations in recent weeks all off which demanded the names of the plants concerned to be published.

The Department said to date in 2018 there have been 521 inspections across 32 slaughter plants and 44,332 carcasses have been inspected by classification officers within DAFM.

In 2017 there were 628 inspections and 56,330 carcases inspected and in 2016 there were 616 inspections on 57,000 carcases.

On average, each factory has been inspected 16 times to date with an average of 85 carcasses per inspection. The legal requirement is 8 inspections per year on only 40 carcasses per inspection.

The Department said the level of non-compliance with the carcase trim specification found is 0.05% of all carcases inspected in 2018. In 2016 the percentage non-compliance is also 0.05%.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that in future farmers will be notified and compensated in cases of excess carcass trimming by meat plants.

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In a statement today, Meat Industry Ireland said the Department's inspection regime on carcase dressing is now being further enhanced, with the commencement of official monitoring on a daily basis in every plant by Department officials permanently based in the plants.

"This is a far more intensive regime than operates in any other EU member state,” it claimed.

“The Department has today announced that in the past three years, some 47 penalties have applied in total which amounts to an issue on just 0.03pc of carcases inspected. By any measure, this is a tiny quantity and clearly demonstrates that carcase dressing standards are being properly applied across the board. Claims to the contrary are simply incorrect. Even in the isolated incidents where a penalty is applied by DAFM, the actual weight of over trim in most cases would be no more than a kilo.”

“Nonetheless, in order to further assuage farmer concerns, MII informed the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 4th December that, to coincide with the introduction of the enhanced monitoring regime on 1st January next, beef processors had agreed to introduce a payment to the farmer supplier to fairly reflect any value loss in each case where DAFM applied a carcase dressing fine. Such payment will be identified on the payment remittance docket, so that farmers will also be aware of the penalty.”

“Finally, beef processors will continue to cooperate with the Department in ensuring the full and proper implementation of carcase dressing regulations,” the statement said.

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