Off-farm food safety
The safety, quality and integrity of Australian red meat is very importance to the red meat and livestock industry. Strict processes and procedures have been implemented to ensure the integrity of beef, lamb, sheepmeat and goatmeat for domestic and international consumers.
AUS-MEAT is an industry owned company operating as a joint venture between MLA and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation. AUS-MEAT has developed a common language that describes red meat products and ensures the intended outcome every time.
The AUS-MEAT language provides objective descriptions of red meat to be used by producers, abattoirs, boning rooms, wholesalers and food service organisations. The language has been adopted throughout the Australian red meat industry and provides customers with an accurate way of ordering red meat products.
A set of national accreditation standards are also in place to protect the integrity of the AUS-MEAT language and the interests of the Australian red meat industry in relation to the sale, distribution and export of red meat. To assist the industry in producing consistent and accurate product, AUS-MEAT has established accreditation standards for abattoirs, boning rooms and wholesalers.
Purchasing from accredited suppliers ensures effective quality assurance procedures at every step of the processing chain including handling, storage, processing, packaging, labelling and in the description of red meat products.
National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme
The National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) is an industry self-regulatory, quality assurance scheme, initiated by the Australian Lot Feeders' Association and managed by the Feedlot Industry Accreditation Committee. The objective of the NFAS is to develop a quality assurance system for beef feedlots that impacts positively on red meat quality and acceptability. The lot feeding industry maintains responsibility for this system.
The program is mandatory for feedlots producing grainfed beef for export markets. Compliance checking by independent third party auditing ensures the integrity of the program. The NFAS is co-regulated by linkages to State Government feedlot approval and licensing legislation and AQIS administered export regulations.
To be accredited under the NFAS feedlots must have procedures, which meet the requirements of industry standards, and maintain records that these procedures have been adhered to for all cattle prepared at the feedlot. The procedures, records and feedlot facilities must then undergo a third party audit.
TruckCare is the livestock industry's quality assurance system developed for road transport of livestock. TruckCare is independently audited and built around international standards, integrating with other integrity systems such as the Livestock Production Assurance program and the National Saleyard Quality Assurance Program.
National Saleyards Quality Assurance Program
The National Saleyards Quality Assurance Program (NSQA) ensures saleyards meet and maintain recognised national standards in the handling of livestock through all stages of the red meat market. NSQA is audited by AUS-MEAT, who is responsible for ensuring that both the quality assurance systems developed by each saleyard and its facilities meet the requirements of the National Standard for the Construction and Operation of Australian Saleyards.
Australian Government Halal Slaughter Program
The Australian Government Halal Slaughter Program (AGHS) exists to maintain the status and segregation of Halal products after carcases are declared Halal by accredited Muslim slaughtermen. The Federal Department of Agriculture is responsible for the approval of all AGHS programs. They monitor all aspects of the program to ensure Halal product is prepared, handled, packed and stored in a manner that addresses Halal integrity at all stages of production.
MLA Food Safety Program
The Food Safety Program is designed to assist all participants in the Australian red meat industry. By assisting the industry build its expertise in relation to red meat food safety issues, MLA is helping to ensure the sustainability of the industry and assist companies along the supply chain to profit from implementing new, scientifically proven technologies.
As part of the program, MLA has implemented a coordinated program to:
- Improve the understanding of foodborne hazards.
- Evaluate and validate control procedures and safety practices.
- Assist industry with adoption of new technologies and processes.
The objective of the Food Safety Program is to develop programs in industry and facilitate their adoption. These programs have an emphasis on foodborne pathogens, but also deal with hygiene and quality. The approaches taken by the program are based on sound science, risk assessment and new management strategies and focus on three key areas:
- Consultation with stakeholders on the strategy, direction and themes for the program to ensure it meets industry requirements.
- Scientific discovery and knowledge generation to find new ways of managing food safety hazards along the supply chain.
- Using scientific knowledge to facilitate change and further developments within the industry by communicating and collaborating with stakeholders.