Trials on hi-tech beef grading machines at advanced stage
A trial using digital cameras and LED lights as part of the mechanical grading system in meat factories is at an "advanced stage", it has been confirmed.
It follows criticism of the machines as "outdated and obsolete", as TD Denis Naughten highlighted it is 14 years since their introduction - which predates the arrival of the iPhone.
The ICMSA said very "serious questions" remain unanswered on the beef grading machines and the Department's record of inspecting them.
Mr Naughten warned beef farmers could be losing €140 per animal due to grading machines operating outside of the recommended thresholds.
However, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the automated carcase grading system that is in operation in Ireland is "by no means obsolete".
MII's Cormac Healy said it was the most comprehensive approach to ensuring objective and consistent classification according to the European Commission's EUROP grading system in any member state.
The industry-led trial is being supervised by the Department of Agriculture, which said it was at an "advanced stage".