Bord Bia in its annual review of export performance that shared beef offal exports had reached €230m in 2017 has captured widespread attention. Of particular interest to farmers is that this product is harvested by the factory before the animal is weighed and is therefore not costing the factory anything to purchase. In industry jargon this is referred to as the “fifth quarter” because when the animal moves through the slaughter hall, it is split into two sides. Each side is, in turn, split across the middle when it enters the boning room. That means that the original animal is now divided into four quarters while the left over parts removed during the process are described as the “fifth quarter.” When this product is then shown to have an export value equating to €135/animal, it looks like a win-win for the factory.

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