Australia overhauls meat quality assurance scheme

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

MLA said Integrity Systems Company heralds a 'new era for red meat production'
MLA said Integrity Systems Company heralds a 'new era for red meat production'

Related tags: Meat, Livestock, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Processing equipment & plant design

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has integrated its red meat and livestock quality assurance programs in a bid to improve them for the “future prosperity of the red meat and livestock industry”.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of MLA, the Integrity Systems Company – formerly NLIS Ltd – will deliver the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program, National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) and the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

The new streamlined structure is designed to help ensure resources are more effectively directed.

The establishment of the Integrity Systems Company follows a recommendation by industry and government in 2015 – through their SAFEMEAT partnership – that one company be given responsibility for delivering a fully integrated integrity system.

Dr Jane Weatherley, CEO of Integrity Systems Company, said the move represented a new era for Australia’s red meat industry.

Australia’s traceability and quality assurance systems underpin the current and future success of the Australian red meat industry and allow producers to stand by what they sell.

Our existing systems have ensured Australian red meat enjoys an impeccable reputation in global markets – but we need to continually look at new ways to strengthen and enhance how they operate. This will ensure we maintain and grow access to markets domestically and across the globe, and have a key advantage against our main competitors.​”

The LPA program provides evidence of livestock history and on-farm practices to ensure Australian meat is safe to eat, while the NVD provides the mechanism for the transfer of information and the NLIS gives full traceability through the value chain.

Dr Weatherley said the changes would see the Integrity Systems Company taking on full responsibility for the LPA program, which was previously owned by AUS-MEAT, which will continue to carry out on-farm auditing for the program.

The move demonstrates industry’s commitment to continually improve the system. While this change in LPA ownership will not affect how livestock producers interact with the program, it will result in improved efficiency and alignment with the other elements of the system.​”

Integrity Systems Company will help Australia's meat industry strengthen its various systems
Integrity Systems Company will help Australia's meat industry strengthen its various systems

Technology investment

MLA also plans to invest up to $10 million to co-fund the installation of DEXA​ objective measurement systems in red meat processing plants.

Under the project, MLA will work with partners to develop a single scientific measurement of lean meat yield, as well as systems to collect and use data across supply chains for future research and development in genetics, animal health and husbandry, processing automation and other productivity improvements on- and off-farm

MLA​ managing director Richard Norton said the DEXA installations would be funded via matching contributions from participating processors and the MLA Donor Company (MDC).

This project is an important part of MLA’s investment in the research and development of objective measurement systems that our red meat and livestock industry can use to make precise assessments and better commercial decisions,​” said Norton.
 
It will enable supply chains and the businesses within them to drive new efficiencies, generate more value and better meet market demands, which ultimately improves our industry’s international competitiveness.​”

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, Oceania, Meat

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