Scots welcome EU dressing specifications

The EU Beef Management Committee has approved a UK specification for carcase dressing, including the proposal for two additional coefficients to be used in the calculations for beef price reporting.

The approval will end a long running dispute in the UK beef industry over what is allowed to be trimmed from a carcase before weighing.

Last year, the industry decided that a new dressing specification was required to comply with legal reporting requirements and to address industry concerns regarding consistency of trim. It was agreed that official EU recognition of this specification was necessary.

The specification will allow for consistent enforcement at abattoirs and should help to avoid previous concerns over brisket trim. It is of particular interest to farmers, as it forms the basis of the calculation of how much an animal is worth.

Nigel Miller, NFU Scotland Vice-President, said: "NFU Scotland has put a huge amount of effort into addressing carcase dressing specifications and these new standards has been a long time in coming. The target is now to enforce these new standards by the end of 2008 and we will be pushing hard for that to happen.

"The new specifications give major processors a trim which suits further cutting while also introducing policeable safeguards for producers. Most importantly, these recognised specifications open the door for the use of VIA."

Andy McGowan, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) industry development manager said: "This is a welcome result that brings to an end years of dispute over beef dressing specifications and provides both abattoirs and producers with clarity over exactly how much trimming can take place prior to weighing.

"We are already working on project plans to explore the feasibility and value to the industry of automated classification systems that could eventually lead us towards objective measurements of carcase yield and even eating quality.

"The decision by the EU gives us the green light to examine the potential of VIA systems in earnest."