MLCSL defends carcase grading system

Inspectors’ organisation Meat & Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL) has hit back at claims that the current carcase grading system is flawed and needs updating.

After a Welsh industry group launched a project to find alternatives to the current method, MLCSL countered criticism by announcing its belief that in-abattoir independent carcase services inspectors continue to offer the best available solution to consistency when classifying carcases.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales said the current system, based on the EUROP grid, is dependent on the subjective view of the inspector, leading to a possibility for standards to vary from one processing plant to another and therefore inconsistent grading.

However MLCSL, which has 109 inspectors in plants across Great Britain, classifying 1.5 million beef carcases and 6.3 million sheep carcases each year, defended the current grading system.

Chairman John Cross said: “There are a significant number of checks and cross-checks in place to ensure that there is consistency in the grading by the inspectors, so we have a level playing field and reliable carcase classification. This is something that has been established over many years and there is no better system available.

“This is why it came as a surprise to read in the press about a meeting of Welsh industry representatives declaring that there were significant problems with the existing system, variations in assessment and inconsistent grading. This doesn’t tally with our records.

“We have no evidence of any variation in standards and there have been few issues raised by those to whom we supply services.”

The organisation added that the industry should be looking to embrace viable new technologies as they emerge, but that changes must be based on sound evidence and reliable, viable alternatives.

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