Naughten to push Creed in Dail for new grading machines

Independent TD Denis Naughten has said that he will push the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to introduce new beef-grading machines during a Dail session next week.

Naughten highlighted that some farmers could be losing €140 or more per animal due to old and outdated machines, and he’s urging Minister Michael Creed to introduce the new technology “without delay”.

He argues that the technology in this area has come a long way since the machines that are currently in use were first tested 20 years ago.

At the time these machines were first tested by Teagasc, email was a new technology and people had to use dial-up connections to access the internet. Today, a farmer can broadcast a live video from the palm of his hand in the middle of a field.

“The meat industry and the department trialed modern grading machines over a year ago and now it’s time that we see action,” insisted Naughten.

He added: “I have already exposed, in Dail Eireann, that over the last two years, 21 mechanical beef-grading machines were found not to be grading correctly and the department instructed that they be replaced with manual grading of carcasses.”

Naughten points out, however, that there was no trace back of animals that had gone through these machines before they were found to be defective, meaning the farmers affected were not identified.

According to Naughten, if a machine is inaccurate by at least two subcategories, this could result in farmers being shortchanged by €140/head.

Naughten will challenge the minister next Thursday in the Dail, where he will ask why UK regulations demand that a machine has to be checked everyday, but Irish machines only have reports produced every week.