Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (175)

Charlie McConalogue


175. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the changes to equations in the classification machines at meat plants which determine the conformation and fat score of cattle; and his views on the position of a farm organisation (details supplied) that these changes reward factories over farmers. [24808/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department supervised the recent modification trial of the mechanical beef carcase classification system that was carried out in Slaney Meats, to establish compliance with EU legislation in terms of new technology being trialled.

Following calibration of the modified classification machine using 2,400 carcasses in 2018, the new technology was validated on an additional 2,100 carcasses by comparison with the grades of three Department classification officers.  The calibration process explored the optimum equations to maximise the accuracy of the machine.  The equations used are equations that were authorised in authorisation trials carried out and supervised by the EU Commission.

A classification expert from the Netherlands independently monitored the two year trial and produced a detailed report which is currently being reviewed and will be published in the near future on the Department's website. The Report will include accuracy levels relevant to the new technology when compared with the three Department classification officers.