Questioning regarding the accuracy of beef grading machines has led to improvements in accuracy according to Independent TD Denis Naughten.
Deputy Naughten said: “There has been a dramatic improvement in the accuracy of beef grading machines, which has improved by over one third, since I first started questioning the accuracy of the mechanical grading machines.
“Last year 27% of cattle graded by machines during Departmental inspections were less than 90% accurate but this has now improved to a point where 17% of cattle graded by machines are less than 90% accurate
“These figures still expose the fact that even with these improvements over one in every six cattle graded mechanically at meat plants are being graded at an accuracy of less than 90%. This can have a significant impact on the payment received by farmers because if a grading machine is out by at least two subcategories this could see farmers getting €140/head less than they should for their cattle”.
Deputy Naughten said that there was still frustration regarding the implementation of new grading technology however.
“What is hugely frustrating is the fact that these grading machines can easily be over 90% accurate but this requires vigorous enforcement by Department of Agriculture inspectors.
“The Minister for Agriculture also has a report on his desk on the introduction of new grading technology which could ensure a far greater level of accuracy and transparency when it comes to the mechanical grading of cattle and this must be published immediately,” concluded Denis Naughten.