European Beef

Beef Processing in Ireland

The EU sets out strict guidelines around beef processing and packing facilities, and meat processing staff are highly trained and qualified to meet the highest animal welfare, food safety and sanitation standards.

Beef production in Ireland is primarily based on steers processed at two years of age and over and heifers aged between 18-24 months.

Beef processing is a localised activity with farms typically within a 50km radius of the plants they serve. This means transport is efficient and there is less stress on the animal. This is important for good animal welfare and for the final quality of the meat.

Beef carcases are graded to the EUROP standard, an evaluation that takes account of muscle and fat content of the meat.

Rigorous sanitary regulations are enforced to ensure that the cold chain is uninterrupted and carcase and meat remain in optimum condition through the slaughter and post slaughter process.

All beef processing plants and abattoirs in Ireland are monitored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with onsite veterinary inspection and regular auditing by a range of independent parties.

Ireland has 32 EU-approved export beef processing facilities.

The EU Classification system provides a basis for farmer payment. A grid is used to determine what price is paid to the farmer based on three key criteria, conformation (the shape and development of the carcase), fat coverage and sex.

The grading is carried out using state-of-the-art VIA technology (Video Image Analysis). A premium is paid for better quality carcasses encouraging the breeding and production of better quality animals.

The aim of the Beef Carcase Classification Scheme is to ensure a common classification standard throughout the European Union. This enables the EU to operate a standardised beef price reporting system.