Meat Standards Australia is an eating quality program for beef and sheepmeat, based on extensive consumer research.
All sheepmeat underpinned by the MSA program has met strict criteria to ensure it meets consumer expectations for eating quality attributes of tenderness, juiciness and flavour, and is labelled according to recommended cooking method.
All participants in the program are licensed to use the MSA trademark and certify products in accordance with the MSA Standard.
Read more about the MSA sheepmeat program. Download the MSA sheep brochure.
New sheepmeat cut by cooking method model
In a first for the Australian sheepmeat industry, MSA and its research partners have developed a sheepmeat cut by cooking method model.
Based on over 10 years of research, the MSA sheepmeat cut by cooking method model will revolutionise the sheepmeat industry by enabling processors and brand owners to extract further value across the supply chain, through eating quality segregation. The commercialisation of the MSA sheepmeat model has the potential to also incentivise and reward producers by creating opportunities to boost profitability and productivity.
To support the commercialisation of the MSA sheepmeat model, MLA has a series of development activities underway. Updates on the progress of the model’s commercialisation will be shared here as they become available.
More information can be found in the factsheets below:
- The next evolution for the sheepmeat industry - expression of interest. If you're a sheepmeat processor or brandowner, find out how you can get involved to help prepare this model for commercialisation.
- Intramuscular fat and eating quality
- Lean meat yield and eating quality
Supplying MSA sheepmeat
Livestock agents can become registered as MSA members upon completing MSA training, to access members-only resources to assist their livestock clients. Download the MSA livestock agent registration form.
Check that you meet the list of MSA requirements. Once you have received your MSA producer registration number, and are satisfied you meet the MSA requirements, you can consign sheep through the MSA system. Download a list of MSA processors, or find an MSA saleyard near you.
Make sure you are familiar with the purchaser’s specifications. Purchasers may have specific carcase weight and fat ranges.
You should liaise with the abattoir to ensure sheep are processed within 48 hours of being off feed.
Fill in the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) to accompany the consignment to the processor. It is important that you include your MSA registration number on the declaration. Download a reference guide to completing your NVD to meet MSA requirements.
Take note of the reasons for any non-compliances you may have.
Talk to other MSA producers to share the knowledge they have gained from using the system. Find out about upcoming MSA producer workshops to gain more knowledge about optimising the eating quality of your sheepmeat.
On farm management
An important element contributing to predictable eating quality is the management of sheep on-farm.
Key factors include:
- Sheep age — lamb is the premium product however some cuts of hogget and mutton also have the potential for high eating quality.
- Nutrition and finishing — Merino sheep and crossbreeds have different nutritional requirements to ensure their optimal eating quality.
- Sheep carcase class — minimum weight requirements are ≥ 16kg hot standard carcase weight (HSCW) for sucker (milk fed lamb) and ≥ 18kg HSCW for all weaned lambs, hogget and mutton.
MSA factsheets for supplying sheep
- What is MSA sheepmeat?
- The effect of nutrition and growth on eating quality
- MSA handling requirements
- The effect of breed and age on eating quality
- The effect of pH on eating quality
- The effect of hanging method on eating quality
- The effect of cut and cooking method on eating quality
- How to supply sheep to MSA
- The MSA sheepmeat information kit (a collation of all Tips & Tools factsheets)
- MSA sheep buyer's guide (for producers, agents and buyers)
MSA standards manuals
Licenced users of the MSA program must adhere to the standards manual relevant to their operation.
Phone: 1800 111 672