Better Beef Labelling

AUSTRALIA - The Food Amendment (Beef Labelling) Act 2009 will commence on 31 August 2010, and give consumers a more reliable and consistent description of beef quality.
calendar icon 5 August 2010
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“The development of the Domestic Retail Beef Register for the retail sector and underpinning of the AUS-MEAT language in State legislation means consumers are now able to have confidence in the way beef is labelled,” said New South Wales Farmers’ Association Cattle Committee Chair Richard Chamen.

We believe this Legislation together with the beef grading system, Meat Standards Australia (MSA), will now give consumers better information about how to cook their beef, which will give them a better eating experience,” Mr Chamen said.

From January 2011, if retailers use age as a description, beef needs to be described as Yearling (<18months), Young (18 months to 2.5 years), Intermediate (2.5 years to 3 years), Mature (3 to 3.5 years) or Economy (> 3.5 years).

“Younger beef is generally tender and the flavour increases as the animal gets older,” Mr Chamen said.

“Yearling beef would be ideal for steaks, whereas Economy meat is ideal for casseroles, stews and curries.

“Under the old system, some descriptors of beef such as Prime, A Grade and Grain Assisted had no standard meaning and are no longer allowed to be used when describing beef,” Mr Chamen said.

The NSW Farmers’ Association outlined strong concerns with the Bill to Northern Tablelands MP Richard Torbay and other Members of Parliament before it was passed in Parliament in late 2009.

“The Association has worked with Richard Torbay and the Beef Labelling Reference Group, to ensure a good outcome for producers and consumers,” Mr Chamen said.

Mr Torbay first introduced the Food Amendment Bill into Parliament to ensure truth in beef labelling.

The Cattle Committee welcomes the Government’s consumer education campaign to be launched in January next year, which will help consumers understand the new terms.

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