New Carcase Classification Arrangements for 2019


Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed T.D. has confirmed that enhanced controls on carcase presentation (trim) will be fully rolled out from January 1st 2019.

A new system where Veterinary Public Health Inspection Service staff will assist staff of the Beef Carcase Classification Unit to provide additional assurance in relation to the regulation of trimming of carcasses by factories has been established. The new monitoring system is currently being piloted in a number of factories with full roll out to all factories planned from January 1st, 2019.

The additional monitoring of carcase presentation by DAFM veterinary public health staff will provide further assurance to stakeholders that the appropriate dressing specification is being applied.  These staff will provide a supporting role for the Beef Carcase Classification staff. Up-skilling of DAFM staff has occurred at regional seminars and local training of officers is being provided. 

Minister Creed said: “This new system of controls in processing facilities, with 150 personnel specifically trained to provide additional support in carcase classification, has been established to provide farmers with absolute assurance that the appropriate dressing is being applied.”   

Carcase classification and carcase presentation (Trim) controls in slaughter plants are carried out by a dedicated team of specialist staff in the Beef Carcase Classification Section within DAFM. The Department’s remit under EU legislation is to carry out un-announced inspections to ensure that meat plants comply with these legislative requirements for classification, weights and trim. 

Department inspections are underpinned by EU legislation. The EU legislation states specifically that the reliability of the classification of carcasses (and monitoring of carcase presentation) of bovine animals should be verified by regular on-the-spot checks carried out by bodies that are independent from the inspected establishments responsible for the classification, the classification agencies and the qualified classifiers

1.7 million carcasses have been slaughtered to December 2018. To date in 2018 there have been 521 inspections across 32 slaughter plants and 44,332 carcasses have been inspected by classification officers. On average, each factory has been inspected 16 times to date with an average of 85 carcasses per inspection. The legal requirement is 8 inspections per year on only 40 carcasses per inspection.

To date in 2018, a total of 19 on-the-spot fines were issued for non-compliance with the EU reference carcase trimming specification. Under legislation (SI 363/2010), non-compliance with the carcase trim specification attracts a maximum on the spot fine of €200 per carcase. In 2016, 28 on-the-spot fines were issued for non-compliance with the EU reference carcase trimming specification.

Minister Creed added: “From the 1st January 2019, processors will introduce a payment to the farmer supplier to reflect any loss in each case where my Department applied a trim fine on a particular carcase. Such payment will be identified on the payment remittance docket, so that farmers will be aware of the penalty. In addition my Department has had a number of seminars to ensure the rules around trim are clearly understood and properly executed , and thes have been well attended by plant personnel.”

"In addition, my department will publish the names of plants in which on the spot fines have been applied with effect from 1st January 2019. I also intend to publish the names of plants in which such fines were levied in 2018 and 2016 before year end, subject to the completion of a number of formalities."