The Cattle Council of Australia is developing a label for grass-fed beef, and producers want stringent standards. Alan Harman reports.
A new industry standard being developed in Australia will allow beef finished on pastures to be labelled differently from that finished on grain. Cattle Council of Australia president Greg Brown says the council decided to develop the standard because grassfed beef has been available for a long time, but nobody had been able to identify it as a superior product. Compliance will be voluntary, but cattle companies will need to show they meet the standards before putting a grassfed label on their product.
As Brown told the Australian Broadcasting Corp, “The beef will be grassfed, without antibiotics, and have flavour. The cattle will not have been confined, fed grain or given hormonal growth promoters.” In return, cattle producers want to be paid a premium and expect a grassfed standard would be auditable.Brown adds cattle producers want to avoid misuse of labelling, as happens in the organic and free-range industries. “We want to be clear and identify a product with integrity,” he says. The council also wants to make Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading a requirement of the grassfed labelling, to produce a consistent product.“Without MSA grading, there was no way of doing that,” Brown says. “MSA is key.” |fw