A new beef grading formula to be rolled-out at meat plants

Meat factories will be rolling out a new and different mechanical cattle grading formula, after the Department of Agriculture carried out recalibration trials.

The move is as a result of the Department, in accordance with the recommendations of the Beef Activation Group, carrying out a re-calibration trial on the mechanical beef grading system in 2013/14.

The formula is being used to assess, grade, and pay farmers for their cattle, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Responding to questioning from Eamon O Cuiv this week, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the trial was conducted strictly in accordance with EU rules and was overseen by the Department with a panel of international experts.

In addition, he said Teagasc acted as an independent body designated by the Department to analyse the results of the certification test.

“The trial resulted in the generation of a new set of equations approved by the EU Commission, based on a large sample size and based on the current bovine population.

“Testing of the installation of these new equations, which were approved by the EU Commission, is currently underway at a number of meat factories across the country under the close supervision of authorised classification officers of my Department,” he said.

According to the Minister this testing is purely a technical exercise to ensure that the mechanical grading system continues to perform to the highest standard in meat factories.

He said it is intended that such testing will be conducted in each establishment operating classification using automated grading techniques with a view to the rolling out of the system across the country at some future point.

Farmers interest

Regarding the protection of farmer’s interests in this matter, Minister Coveney said this testing is carried out at meat factories under the close supervision of authorised classification officers of my Department ensuring that no financial detriment occurs to any farmer during the testing process.

In addition, he said the EU Commission lays down rules for the monitoring of establishments operating classification using automated grading techniques which the Department strictly adheres to.

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