Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Beef Industry Irregularities
454. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of times in each of the years from 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018, that beef processing factories have been fined for breaching EU carcase trimming rules; the range of fines imposed in each year; the number of inspections by officials in each of the years from 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018 to check grading and trimming is in compliance with regulations; the names of factories fined in this period, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53652/18]
Carcase classification and carcase presentation controls in slaughter plants are carried out by a dedicated team of specialist staff in the Beef Carcase Classification Section within my Department.
To date in 2018 there have been 521 inspections carried out by inspectors across 32 slaughter plants and 44,332 carcasses have been inspected. A total of 19 carcases were fined for non compliance with the EU reference carcase trimming specification. In 2016 there were 616 inspections carried out and 28 carcases fined. In 2015 there were 561 inspections. Under legislation (SI 363/2010), non-compliance with the carcase trim specification attracts a maximum on the spot fine of €200 per carcase.
Meat Industry Ireland has agreed that from the 1stJanuary 2019 processors will introduce a payment to the farmer supplier to reflect any loss in each case where my Department has 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 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.