European Commission inspectors have confirmed that UK livestock producers are being hit by over-zealous trimming at abattoirs using the New EU carcass specification.

National Beef Association chairman Duff Burrell said:

“The inspectors found that not only was too much fat removed from the brisket but some flesh was cut away too.

They also reported that the pizzle sheath area was over trimmed and additional tissue was cut back from the flank edge that should have been left on before weighing.

“Finishers who sell deadweight should note that each of these transgressions combines to reduce the weight of the carcass when it is put over the scales to determine payment and that this significantly lowers their returns on a pound per carcass basis.”

Mr Burrell said the inspectors had recommended that the New EU specification should no longer be used for price reporting purposes and be replaced with the “Old EU” reference system.

However, British Meat Processors Association director Maurice McCartney said:

“Trimming flesh is wrong but you will have inconsistencies with any system.

Surely there are more important issues facing the industry – farmers never complain about this.”

A spokesman for Anglo Beef Processors said the current system was transparent and any change would not improve the price paid to farmers.