Kepak issues statement on carcass trimming list

Kepak Group has released a statement confirming that it was one of the factories found to have not been in full compliance with carcass trimming standards, and has apologised to the farmers affected.

The group confirmed that on two occasions the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s beef carcass dressing monitoring programme found carcasses not to be in full compliance with the EU dressing standard.

Inspections

A spokesperson for the group said that a department inspection at Kepak Kilbeggan on November 3, 2016, found 16 carcasses that were deemed not to be in full compliance with EU dressing standards.

More recently, on September  10, 2018, an inspection of Kepak Clare found 11 carcasses not up to scratch.

“A Kepak representative has spoken to the farmers affected to explain the background and to apologise for this non-compliance,” the representative said.

Kepak’s average compliance rate since 2016 has been 99.9% and, where a non-compliance occurred, appropriate operational measures were taken in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, according to the group.

Kepak’s five beef processing plants have a throughput of approximately 285,000 cattle per annum and each plant is routinely subjected to unannounced inspections under the department’s monitoring programme.

Annually, approximately 80 unannounced inspections are conducted across Kepak plants by department officials who inspect 100 carcasses drawn equally and randomly both from the kill of the previous day (cold) and from the day of inspection (hot).

Under the terms of this department monitoring programme, non-compliance fines are levied on beef processors, but no protocol existed for recompensing farmers affected.

Protocol

On December 4, Meat Industry Ireland engaged with the department on this issue with a view to devising a protocol to promptly notify and fairly recompense affected suppliers for penalised non-compliances, effective from January 1, 2019.

The group will apply this protocol retrospectively to its affected suppliers once the terms have been finalised, the spokesperson added.

“Kepak regrets that on two occasions we fell short of the high standards that we believe represent our values in both our operations and in our engagement with our suppliers and stakeholders,” the representative concluded.

Department list

Earlier this evening, the Department of Agriculture released a list of meat factories which were guilty of excessive carcass trimming.

Along with Kepak, Emerald Isle Foods and Kildare Chilling Company featured on the list of companies for 2018.