Australia quality standards program sees significant growth

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Meat Management Beef Lamb

Consumer recognition of the standard is now at 55%
Consumer recognition of the standard is now at 55%
Eating quality program Meat Standards Australia (MSA) has seen significant growth over the past year, with over three million cattle and six million sheep going through the program.

These figures represent an increase of 24.6% for cattle, and 22% for lambs in 2013-2014. The program now underpins the eating quality of more than 100 beef and lamb brands in Australia, with the expansion of its retail program and increased consumer awareness adding value along the supply chain, said Dr Alex Ball, livestock productivity general manager, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

A digital campaign, launched by MLA in January this year, has achieved more than five million online impressions, with 210 consumers viewing the ‘webisodes’ on YouTube. Research conducted in June suggested that 55% of consumers were aware of the quality standard, and 80% believed it to be trustworthy.

Despite the scheme’s rapid growth, compliance to the MSA standards has remained steady, which Ball described as encouraging.

"Compliance rates vary greatly throughout the year, based on the seasonality of the different regions in Australia, but the quality and consistency of MSA livestock for the last financial year held compliance rates up at 92.6%,"​ he said.

"Meat colour non-compliance and high pH were the key issues for beef carcases that failed to meet MSA standards – that is, they were either dark cutting or high pH (>pH 5.70) carcases. There was also a slight increase in the number of carcases that failed on the minimum 3mm rib fat specifications this year,"​ he added.

Ball explained that stress prior to slaughter remained a key issue.

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