21 beef-grading machines ‘shut down’ after unannounced inspections

In the last two years, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine inspectors have found 21 beef-grading machines to be working outside the rules set out for their operation.

Independent TD for the Galway – Roscommon constituency, Denis Naughten, added that the machines were not providing accurate grading of animals,

Deputy Naughten disclosed the information on foot of a Dail reply saying: “In 2018, following unannounced inspections, eight grading machines were found to be working outside of the allowed tolerance and manual grading of carcasses was immediately introduced in all cases.

The figures for 2017 show that 13 machines were found to be working outside the specified tolerance.

“What is interesting about the figures is the fact that while there were 21 grading machines taken out of operation in meat plants in the last two years by the Department of Agriculture; there were just four weighing scales taken out of operation over the same period, by the National Standards Authority of Ireland, who regulate weighing instruments in all meat plants in Ireland,” the Roscommon Galway TD said.

“These figures will add to farmer concerns regarding the accuracy of the grading machines which is compounded by the complexity of the Beef Carcass Classification Scheme itself.”

Deputy Naughten concluded: “With the development of technology, it should now be possible for farmers to be supplied with a digitised image of the carcass of each animal on the day of slaughter.”