Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dawn to pay €150k for errors in grading

Processor pledges to compensate 150 farmers

Martin Ryan

Dawn Meats is to pay out close to €150,000 to farmers as a result of grading errors at their plant in Grannagh, Co Waterford.

Nearly 150 farmers who supplied 1,900 animals are each to receive an average of €1,000 from Dawn Meats for grading discrepancies that occurred between January and March last year.

Testing of the mechanical grader failed to detect false readings from the faulty grading machine which was replaced at the beginning of April.

All 4+ and 5 fat score steers and heifers slaughtered at the Waterford factory during the three-month period are now to receive the 4= price at the date of purchase.

Philip Tallon, Dawn's operations manager, said the payments, which are proving "costly" for the firm, will result in an over-payment for some cattle which they believe were correctly graded. The payout also comprises a "goodwill payment" on all 4+ and 5 grade cattle, which the company said reflected their commitment to farmer suppliers.

Dawn Meats, Department of Agriculture and the suppliers of the mechanical grader, E & V Gbm, Germany, are denying any responsibility for the intermittent irregular results produced by the machine after check tests carried out by both the Department of Agriculture and the machine manufacturers found it was operating within the EU-approved guidelines.

Appeals

The ICMSA has welcomed the prompt decision by Dawn Meats to compensate the farmers and called for the introduction of a grading appeals system and publication of the result of all tests carried out on grading machines.

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The IFA said that concerns which were repeatedly raised with both the Department of Agriculture and Dawn management this spring about grading inaccuracies at the plant had been denied by both.

IFA president, John Bryan, said Department officials persistently denied that there was a problem with cattle classification and refused a request for specific figures for the factory.

Calling for an appeal system for farmers, he said this incident clearly showed the requirement for day-to-day monitoring of classification and carcass trim in every meat plant.

Irish Independent