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Call for simpler Australian meat integrity system

Updated July 31, 2015 07:59:47

An industry leader says Australia's meat quality, safety and integrity systems need to be overhauled.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) managing director Richard Norton told Tasmania's premier meat industry event that was his personal view.

At the MLA-funded Red Meats Update in Launceston, Mr Norton said there were more than a dozen distinct Australian meat industry assurance programs covering different parts of the supply chain.

He said removing duplication and simplifying programs and standards was something he supported.

"It's got us to this point in time," he said.

"I would just like the industry to have the discussion around could it be better and more efficient and more effective.

"As I've said, MLA's had to be in the last 12 months.

"We've stripped costs out of our business.

"I think it is time for industry to have the discussion too around industry systems."

Mr Norton also told the forum he was suggesting the meat processing sector should invest more of its levy money in industry integrity and supporting international markets.

"I am building the case to AMPC [Australian Meat Processor Corporation] around why more of their levy should be used to support our industry systems and marketing efforts," Mr Norton said.

"We're moving into an environment now that red meat really is becoming a luxury product.

"We need to keep promoting the benefits as to why you would pay so much more for red meat."

Mr Norton said there were duplications in systems like MLA's Australian eating quality program, Meat Standards Australia and its international Eating Quality Assured program.

He said other systems like the National Livestock Identification System, Livestock Production Assurance and National Vendor Declarations had served Australian farmers well, but that came at a cost.

Mr Norton said it was conceivable that the industry could move to just a couple of meat quality and integrity systems.

"The integrity systems have got us to this point, so I'm very cautious of being anything but supportive of where industry has got our Australian reputation to globally," he said.

"It's a very strong reputation.

"When I've travelled the world to learn about what MLA has done over the last two decades with the investment of levies, we are seen as the aggressive nation around trade agreements, around marketing."

Topics: agribusiness, sheep-production, beef-cattle, launceston-7250

First posted July 30, 2015 13:59:25

Original author: Rosemary Grant



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