Increased supervision of beef factory carcase dressing has been pushed by the farm organisations at every meeting of the beef forum. The most recent meeting was on 6 February and the IFA said after it that a proposal has been made to the Department of Public Expenditure regarding the appointment of Agricultural Officers to monitor classification, trim and weights in the factories.
Prior to the introduction of grading machines in factories, cattle were graded manually by Agricultural Officers (SAOs), employed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). This service was provided by the Department but was considered a State aid; factories invested in machines to deliver the grading service and DAFM withdrew to a supervisory role. When carcases were graded manually, the SAO was onsite and viewed every carcase that crossed the scales.