People who enjoy Australian beef, sheepmeat or goatmeat trust that it is safe, ethically-produced and of a high quality. It is this trust that allows Australian livestock producers to stand by what they sell. Maintaining trust in Australian red meat is not something that is left to chance. A system of food safety measures, quality assurance and traceability from paddock to plate guarantees the integrity of Australia’s $22.9 billion red meat industry.
Quality Assurance Programs
Australia’s animal health status is arguably one of the highest in the world. We are recognised as being free of all major epidemic diseases of cattle including Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). We have also taken a global leadership role by enacting legislation to prevent the feeding of meat and bone meal to ruminants and have also implemented disease surveillance programs in line with international standards to verify this ban.
As a result of these programs and our strict quarantine regulations, our industry is one of only a few in the world to be declared a ‘Negligible Risk’ country of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organisation for Animal Health Industry. The Australian government and red meat industry continue to zealously guard our enviable status, with programs that have been in place for decades to maintain our superior standing.
Three industry owned elements of the red meat integrity system are:
NLIS, LPA and LPA NVDs are complemented by off-farm food safety initiatives, which together build a culture of shared responsibility among all Australian livestock owners: one that acknowledges and embraces their role and reputation as suppliers of safe, ethically-produced and high-quality food. The three elements of the red meat integrity system underpin the strong, profitable and prosperous long-term future of an industry that employs more than 200,000 people and makes a vital contribution to our national and regional economies.
NATIONAL LIVESTOCK IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM
NLIS is Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of cattle, sheep and goats and reflects Australia’s commitment to biosecurity and food safety while providing a competitive advantage in a global market.
NLIS is endorsed by major producer, feedlot, agent, saleyard and processor bodies. In addition to this, it is underpinned by State/Territory legislation, which forms the regulatory framework for the system.
LPA NATIONAL VENDOR DECLARATION
The LPA program is the Australian livestock industry’s on-farm assurance program covering food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity. It provides evidence of livestock history and on-farm practices when transferring livestock through the value chain.
As part of the Livestock Production Assurance program, an LPA National Vendor Declaration is required for all livestock movements, including property to property, through saleyards, direct to processors and to feedlots, and to the live export trade.
The LPA NVD is the main document behind Australia’s reputation as a reliable supplier of safe red meat to domestic and international markets.
NATIONAL FEEDLOT ACCREDITATION
The cattle feedlot industry considers that effective management of environmental, animal welfare and food safety issues is not only essential for sustainable agricultural production but ensures the sustainability of farming for future generations.
These issues are managed through the industry’s quality assurance program, the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS). This scheme was the first agriculturally based quality assurance scheme implemented in Australia and was developed to ensure that every accredited feedlot met legislative requirements and exceeded community expectations.
It is managed by state Governments and industry representatives and is recognised under various state legislations. Under the scheme, feedlots are independently audited each year to ensure compliance with environment, food safety, product integrity and animal welfare legislation.
Meat Standards Australia
Meat Standards Australia (MSA) is the world’s leading eating quality grading system proven to take the guess work out of buying and cooking Australian beef and lamb.
All products identified with the MSA symbol have met strict criteria to ensure they achieve consumer expectations for tenderness, juiciness and flavour. Beef or lamb that meets the MSA standard is given a recommended cooking method to give the consumer the best possible eating experience.