Written Answers. - Cattle Grading Systems.

John Bruton

Question:

416 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when the system of objective classification of beef, based on mechanical grading, will be introduced generally; if he will give details of where the trial use of this is being undertaken; and if he will publish findings on this trial. [1789/99]

A number of mechanical cattle grading systems are being developed for use. None of these systems has yet been granted approval by the European Commission. My Department, in conjunction with Teagasc, is currently examining systems on trial in other countries. The intention is to establish trials in Ireland, with a view to developing a system most appropriate to Irish conditions. After consultation with the European Commission, it is envisaged that trials could take place later this year. At this stage it is not possible to say in which plants such trials will be undertaken.