PROGRESS is well underway to implement the 46 recommendations handed down by the Australian Beef Language Review.
Since the release of the review in June 2016, 12 recommendations have now been actioned and are already delivering outcomes for industry.
The implementation of the Eating Quality Graded (EQG) cipher was among the first recommendations to be realised.
Estimated to potentially add an additional $46 million to the supply chain each year, the EQG cipher is offered as an alternative to dentition-based ciphers, giving MSA brandowners the option to pack and label beef according to consumer eating quality outcomes.
Other recommendations implemented and approved through the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee (AMILSC) include:
- The removal of meat colour as an MSA minimum requirement.
- The Australia Lot Feeders' Association has developed an additional Grain Fed Finished standard and cipher based on NFAS, Days on feed (DOF) eligibility and MSA grading..
- An Animal Raising Claims Framework for Beef Production in Australia was released in October 2017, addressing a need for more specific descriptors underpinning brand claims.
- MSA has implemented a risk-based grader integrity program using face-to-face interactions and grading data analysis with around 250 MSA graders each year.
- Tightening assessment pass marks for the national standardised OsCAP system to improve grader consistency in 2018.
Of equal importance are recommendations that are not being progressed following industry research, review, debate and agreement.
The recommendation to replace the existing A beef cipher to ANY will not be progressed.
Research indicated there was minimal risk of A being misinterpreted as a quality indicator, so it will remain in the language as it currently stands.
Collaboration between industry groups to educate the supply chain on the ongoing outcomes of the Beef Language Review and their value for businesses will be a priority in 2018.
The Beef Language Review was initiated by the Peak Industry Councils – Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) – and examined how developments in science and technology and growing consumer understanding might reshape the language used across the Australian beef industry.
The implementation of the recommendations are being progressed by relevant industry committees under the oversight of the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee. These committees include the Meat Standards Australia Beef Taskforce, the Animal Raising Claims working group and key MLA programs including the Advanced Livestock Measurement Technology (ALMTech) Rural R&D for Profit program and the Digital Value Chain Strategy, with regular reporting back to the Beef Language Review industry working group.