Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (183, 184, 185)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

183. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the regulatory with which inspections were carried out by departmental personnel on weighing equipment in livestock processing plants in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the number found to be out of calibration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3257/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

184. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the regulatory with which weighing equipment in livestock processing plants is required to be independently calibrated to ensure the accuracy of these machines is kept to a high standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3258/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

185. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the regulatory with which a grading machine in a beef processing factory is required to be independently calibrated to ensure its accuracy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3259/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1184 of 20 April 2017 governs the monitoring of carcase classification, carcase presentation and weighing.  It specifies how on-the-spot checks shall be carried out in all slaughterhouses applying compulsory carcase classification.

According to this legislation, on-the-spot checks shall be performed in all slaughterhouses which slaughter 150 or more bovine animals per week at least twice every three months.

The legislation stipulates that each on-the-spot check shall relate to at least 40 carcasses selected at random.

In 2018, the Department conducted almost 550 unannounced, on-the-spot  inspections in 32 factories on classification, carcase presentation and weights (616 inspections in 2016 and 628 in 2017). This is an average of 20 inspections per factory per year, which significantly exceeds the legal minimum requirement of 8 inspections per year.

At each inspection an average of 85 carcasses were inspected for correct classification and carcase presentation. The legal minimum requirement is 40 carcasses per inspection.

The weighing of a carcase is governed by SI 363/2010. It states that the factory shall check and record the accuracy of the weighing scales used for the purposes of weighing a carcase if requested by an authorised officer. For the purposes of determining the accuracy of its weighing scales the factory must possess a set of calibrated weights, totalling not less than 260 kg in weight. These calibrated weights are used by an authorised officer to determine the accuracy of the scales at each inspection. These inspections are in addition to the daily scales checks that each factory conducts before production.

There were no issues regarding weighing systems discovered at inspections from 2016 – 2018.