IFA President Joe Healy said there is a responsibility on Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to release the names of the meat factory plants which have been fined for breaching regulations on carcase trim. “Farmers have long suspected that this practice was going on. Now, we find that 21 separate cases were uncovered this year with factories being fined a derisory amount of €200 for each offence. The Minister has to publish the list of the offenders immediately.”
Joe Healy said that the fine should be increased, immediately, to the maximum allowable under the legislation of €5,000. Factories who continue to break the rules should be prosecuted through the courts with custodial sentences for repeat offenders.
“The IFA Livestock Committee has campaigned hard to get Minister Creed to introduce enhanced supervision of the trimming process by Department of Agriculture AOs in factories.
“The time for slaps on the wrist has come and gone. We need a serious deterrent to ensure factories don’t rob farmers on the trim,” he said.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the IFA has secured agreement that Agriculture Officers from the Department will now be supervising carcass trim on behalf of farmers in the meat plants on an ongoing constant basis. He said the new arrangements have already commenced on a pilot basis in some meat plants and will be rolled out in full to all meat plants in January 2019.
Angus Woods said the EU regulations on carcase trim is clear and states ‘no fat, muscle or other tissue may be removed from the carcass before weighing, classifying and marking, except for cases when veterinary requirements are applied’.
The National Livestock Chairman said IFA is also demanding that this positive move is extended to cover monitoring and closer controls on carcase classification, weights and the provision of an independent appeals system.