I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 to 219, inclusive, together.
Carcase Classification and carcase presentation (Trim) for Beef, Pigs and Sheep is governed by the following EU legislation: Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council. This legislation applies across the entire EU. Article 10 of this legislation defines the rules for the compulsory classification of Beef and Pigs.
Unlike bovines and pigs there is no EU legislative requirement for processors to classify sheep carcasses.
While the 5 main Irish processors that slaughter sheep also classify carcasses, they do so on an entirely voluntary basis. No machine grading is carried out; where grading is carried out, factory operatives are involved in manual classification. There is therefore no legal basis for any statutory inspections.
My Department gives guidance and training for the voluntary classification of sheep carcasses in the 5 factories. In the years 2016-2018 there were 80 visits conducted in this regard. No differentiation between adult sheep and lambs is made regarding sheep classification at factory level.