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Back to Research & Development

Food safety and traceability


MLA invests in food safety research and development (R&D) projects across the value chain to support market access for the Australian red meat industry by enhancing product integrity and traceability through research.

The Australian red meat industry has a global reputation as a supplier of clean, safe and natural products, underpinned by its disease-free status and advanced food safety and integrity systems. Maintaining and enhancing this position remains essential for the industry to uphold its competitive advantage.

Together with Australian Meat Processor Corporation, MLA also delivers a coordinated joint food safety program which aims to enhance product integrity, reduce technical barriers to trade and deliver product assurance and traceability from paddock to plate.

Core activities

MLA’s investments in food safety and traceability R&D include:

  • investigating potential food-borne disease and bacteria that may affect food safety
  • finding methods to reduce or alleviate technical barriers to trade related to food safety and traceability
  • developing technologies to help extend product shelf-life
  • investigating how innovative digital technology can strengthen integrity and traceability systems
  • improving supply chain efficiency through the collection and utilisation of data
  • establishing methods for antimicrobial stewardship surveillance and communicating this value proposition to industry.

Benefits to industry

  • Traceability and product integrity underpins Australia’s red meat reputation and helps secure its domestic and international market access.
  • R&D that confirms superior food safety in red meat products that also have a longer shelf-life and reduced spoilage and wastage helps the profitability and reputation of the industry.
  • Product traceability systems enable red meat brand owners and exporters to overcome food fraud and market to high-end consumers.

Food Safety

What is driving demand for food safety? 

Safe food to eat is a fundamental need for consumers and thus an integral part of food production systems. MLA invests in the area of food safety R&D projects across the value chain, supporting market access for the Australian red meat industry by enhancing product integrity and technical research.

What is MLA doing in this space?  

MLA’s supports food safety through SAFEMEAT and its R&D program. SAFEMEAT is a food safety partnership between the meat industry and government with the primary role of ensuring delivery of safe and hygienic red meat products to the marketplace.

Together with Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC), MLA also delivers a coordinated joint food safety program aimed at enhancing product integrity. The program is to develop sound scientific basis for food safety management, emphasising microbiological risk management. Identifying knowledge gaps in food safety risks along the supply chain and then conducting research is vital in improving understanding of foodborne hazards and maintaining the industry’s reputation for safe, healthy products.

Food safety market access science reports

The program communicates the knowledge of food safety risks in the red meat supply chain, and their control, so that industry, regulators and the marketplace worldwide are aware and satisfied that risks are understood in Australia and are being controlled effectively.


What is driving demand for traceability?

Full supply chain traceability is a key priority for the red meat industry. There are several drivers for this:

  • Retailers and consumers wanting transparency around product origins, treatments and history.
  • Supply chains wanting improved transparency regarding cold chain management to mitigate losses.
  • All key players wanting to realise cost-saving opportunities through supply chain efficiencies.
  • Brand owners wanting to reduce the risk of food fraud.