To date in 2018 there were fines applied to a total of 19 carcases that were non compliant with the EU reference carcase trimming specification. Under legislation (SI 363/2010), non-compliance with the carcase trim specification attracts a maximum on the spot fine of €200 per carcase.
Regarding the maximum level that can be imposed, any person who commits an offence under the current Regulations is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to both. Recourse to this approach would preclude the possibility of an on the spot fine and conviction would require proof of intention beyond a reasonable doubt.
Carcase classification and carcase presentation controls in slaughter plants are carried out by a dedicated team of specialist staff in the Beef Carcase Classification Section within my Department.
To date there have been 44,332 carcasses inspected in 2018.
As part of on-going dialogue with the industry both within the Beef Forum and directly with Meat Industry Ireland, I have stressed the need for positive engagement between suppliers and processors and I understand that Meat Industry Ireland has accepted that no individual farmer should be at a loss from a mistake made in a factory in relation to the application of carcase dressing procedures. There are commercial considerations to be taken into account in terms of publishing incidences of non-compliance, however, I understand that processors will introduce a payment to the farmer supplier to reflect any loss in each case where my Department has applied a trim fine on a particular carcase. Such payment will be identified on the payment remittance docket, so that farmers will be aware of the penalty.