Welsh meat industry seeks to upgrade carcase grading

Representatives from the Welsh meat industry have set about searching for ways to update the current carcase grading system, which is based on the EUROP grid.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales criticised the current system: “The current carcase classification system depends on the subjective view of the inspector, who assesses the fat cover and conformation of the carcase.

“Since assessment is subjective, there is a possibility that standards can vary from one processing plant to another. There can even be differences of opinion between inspectors in the same plant. This can lead to inconsistent grading, resulting in variations in the price paid to farmers.”

An industry group gathered at HCC’s headquarters in Aberystwyth to discuss the issue, attracting attendance from right across the supply chain. The 30-strong group agreed that in order to incentivise producers and the wider supply chain, a collective approach was required by all parties to look at automated carcase evaluation. It concluded that a system based on objectivity and meat yield was needed.

HCC chairman Dai Davies said: “I felt heartened by the fact that there was unanimous agreement during the meeting that moving towards an automated system was the right thing to do.
 
“It is particularly pleasing that this is a problem that has been identified by those who work in the industry, and that they are willing to explore ways to find a 21st-century solution.
 
“If the Welsh red meat industry is to have a sustainable long-term and profitable future then we must take the lead and ensure that we use the latest technology to provide a consistently high-quality product for our consumers.”

Next, HCC wants a newly formed subgroup to take forward the initial discussions and potential concepts with the Welsh Government and other funding bodies.

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