Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (25)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

25. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of times to date in 2018 that beef processing factories have been fined for breaching EU carcass trimming rules; the range of fines imposed; the maximum level that can be imposed; the number of inspections by officials in 2018 in such factories to check that grading and trimming is in compliance with regulations; and if will he consider publishing the names of factories fined in 2018. [51167/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

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.