20 October 1995

MLCs carcass dressing guide

THE Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) last week released a guideline on beef carcass dressing specifications to help producers maximise returns when selling stock deadweight.

With 50% of all cattle sold deadweight, MLC Operations Group manager Tony Blackburn is concerned many producers are unaware that carcass weight can reduce by a percent between each of the specifications. The differences between the four specifications is highlighted in the table.

As a result killing out percentages can vary dramatically depending on the extent of trimming. This is reflected in the price paid to the producer in p/kg dw.

For example, a 300kg carcass dressed under MLC standard conditions will weigh 9kg (3%) less when trimmed by an abattoir operating under new EC specifications. If the farmer is quoted the same price, say 200p/kg dw, by both abattoirs, he will receive £600 from the abattoir using MLC standard conditions, but only £582 from an abattoir working under the new EC specification.

"MLC has been swamped with phone calls from farmers, marketing groups and electronic auctions about the implications of each specification," said Mr Blackburn.

As a result breed societies, markets, deadweight auctioneers, NFU, FUW, Signet consultants and marketing groups are distributing 50,000 free leaflets called Beef Carcass Authentication Service which describe each dressing specification.

&#8226 Abattoirs adopting a "company specification" dress carcasses to a non-recognised specification.

Dressing Specifications

(Parts of the carcass subject to trim, depending on the specification used)


udderfatskirtvein &sheathfatfat to



MLC standard conditionsononononononon

New national specificationonoffoffoffononon

Old EC specificationoffoffoffoffononon

New EC specificationoffoffoffoffoffoffoff

NB: "Company Specification" identifies carcasses not dressed to a recognised specification.

Killing-out percentage varies on the extent of trimming. This is reflected in the end-price p/kg dw.