Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Ceisteanna (224)

Michael Fitzmaurice


224. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 185 of 23 January 2019, if no issues arose in classification and carcass presentation when his Department conducted on-the-spot inspections in beef processing plants in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4625/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1184 of 20 April 2017 governs the monitoring of carcase classification, carcase presentation and weighing.

In 2018, my Department conducted almost 550 unannounced, on-the-spot inspections in 32 factories on classification and carcase presentation. There were 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 requirement is 40 carcasses per inspection.

The unannounced checks verify the on-going accuracy of the automated beef grading methods by using a system of points and limits defined in EU legislation. The mechanical classification method must operate within legally defined tolerances at all times. When any mechanical system is found to be working outside of these tolerances the meat plants concerned are instructed to revert to manual grading. There were 8 such occurrences in 2018 and 13 in 2017. Farmers are advised through their remittance dockets where manual grading is applied.

Regarding carcase presentation in 2018 a total of 19 fines were issued in respect of non-compliance with carcase classification legislation.

A total of 28 fines were issued for non-compliances in 2016.

No fines relating to carcase presentation were issued in 2017. A concerted campaign by DAFM, with the co-operation of Meat Industry Ireland, took place in that year to raise awareness of the standard of presentation and the requirements for carcase dressing.