Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (173)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

289 Mr. Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the success to date of the training that his Department has offered to meat plant operatives in carcase classification; the uptake of this training; and when his Department's officials will have fully withdrawn from the grading process. [2280/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

The availability of suitably trained classifiers within the industry is an essential feature of the operation of mechanical grading of carcases. By way of preparation, my Department has been engaged in the training and licensing of classifiers for this purpose. Training has been extremely successful and a total of 33 meat plant employees based at 16 slaughter plants have successfully completed the programme. A limited extension of the training programme, where required, is under discussion with the industry as part of the final preparations being made for the commencement of mechanical grading.

The testing and approval of grading machines is now complete. Arrangements are being made for their installation in slaughter plants within the coming months and the withdrawal of Department classifiers from these duties.