Insurance premiums deducted from farmers at meat factories is in farmers’ own interest, according to Meat Industry Ireland.
Following calls for an investigation into insurance deducted from farmers at Irish meat plants Meat Industry Ireland, which represents the meat factories, has said that the deduction is in the farmers interest in the event of further losses through condemnation.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) beef chairman Edmond Phelan recently said that many farmers believe that the deduction is a ‘rip off’ and ‘totally unwarranted’.
A post-mortem contingency deduction is made at point of slaughter as a protection against the full loss of value in the event of the condemnation of the animal/carcase in the course of ante or post-mortem examination by Department officials.
It also covers instances where condemnation losses occur after the farmer has been paid in full e.g. condemnation of cuts due to muscles abscesses (caused by injection sites), dark cutting or other veterinary reasons.
According to Meat Industry Ireland, the deduction has been part and parcel of the normal terms of trade of processing plants for many years.
It says the deduction, which is not underwritten by an insurance company, funds compensation at individual plant level which is used to pay farmers when condemnations occur.
Otherwise, it says the farmer could lose the full value of the animal.
“It is important to remember that condemnation can occur for the live animal at ante-mortem stage, for the carcase, carcase side, quarter and offal at post-mortem stage or subsequently at boning hall stage in cuts due to muscle abscesses or darker cutters.
“It is applied to the vast majority of animals. Some animals will not be covered as their physical condition at presentation in the lairage would suggest that they are likely to be condemned during either ante or post-mortem examination by the vets. This facility is there to protect against unexpected condemnations,” it said in a statement.
Meat Industry Ireland also said that the deduction is part of the terms of trade of the individual processing companies and the amount is decided at that level and can vary from plant to plant, due to kill profile (prime vs cow kill), level of condemnations experienced and so on.
ICSA Beef Chairman Edmond Phelan said he is outraged at a new Post Mortem Contingency charge being imposed by a number of meat factories without consent or consultation.
“This racket of various charges and levies is getting worse and it must stop. There has been no discussion of this at the beef forum and it is totally unacceptable.”
The charge is being levied at €2.50 per head and is apparently justified for the provision of fluke reports on livers.
“Fluke reports have always been provided without an extra charge given that farmers are already paying veterinary fees. This is an unwelcome new development and we are calling on the factories involved to stop this process immediately.”
“Again, as with insurance charges, the actual fee looks totally out of line with the cost of what the farmer gets. An extra column on the factory docket hardly costs this amount of money and if the industry wants to rip off farmers then it should only done with informed consent in advance.”
Phelan wants farmers who have noticed this charge to contact ICSA.