ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has reacted to the statement from Meat Industry Ireland which claims that factory “insurance” charges are in farmers’ own interest.
Mr Phelan said that, in light of the statement from the meat industry, processors should now move to provide complete transparency on the amount of money collected and the amount of benefit obtained by farmers from the so-called insurance charge.
“ICSA would welcome evidence to back up the assertion that the charge was in farmers’ interest. The only way to demonstrate this is if factories as a group can provide figures on the value of money collected under the insurance charge and the amount of money paid out as a result of animals having unacceptable carcasses.”
“If the amount of money collected is broadly similar to the amount paid out, then ICSA will accept the assertion that this is in farmers’ interests and advise accordingly. If however, no concrete evidence is produced, then we will have to conclude that the charge is more in the factories’ interest than the farmers’ interest.”
“It would also help restore trust if the meat industry could explain why some factories charge up to €5 per prime animal (i.e. steers/ heifers) whereas other factories only charge €1.50 when there is virtually no difference in the price paid out per animal. Is there some deficiency in the handling process at factories where the charge is three times higher than the lowest?”
Mr Phelan is also seeking clarification over what exactly the PMC charge covers (post mortem contingency) and why this term is used if it is exactly the same thing as an insurance charge.