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Coles to brand HGP-free beef

06 Sep, 2010 11:22 AM
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Supermarket giant Coles is now sourcing hormone growth promotant (HGP)-free beef from its Australian cattle producers as part of a new product line targeting consumers increasingly conscious about clean and green farming.

Coles will be the first national food retailer to sell only HGP-free beef, but the move has raised concerns with the Cattle Council of Australia which is seeking more information about the initiative and what it may mean for producers in the market place.

HGPs are widely used within the industry to boost growth rates in livestock, and they have been deemed safe by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

But Coles says the move is about providing customers with the "best quality fresh food possible".

Coles general manager of meat, Allister Watson, said the company had worked cooperatively with its beef suppliers over the last 18 months to build a dedicated hormone-free supply chain.

"Coles is aware of widespread consumer concerns about additives in food and livestock and animal welfare practices," Mr Watson said.

"A range of scientific studies have also confirmed that hormone growth promotants (HGPs) can adversely affect eating quality.

"The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system shows that meat quality is significantly better without the use of HGPs."

Mr Watson said a key outcome for Coles was that neither customers nor suppliers would be financially disadvantaged by the move to better quality meat.

"We've agreed with our suppliers that Coles will absorb any additional production costs that arise from moving to HGP-free beef and we'll ensure that Coles on-shelf beef prices are not affected by this move," he said.

Chief executive of Australian Country Choice, David Foote, a major Coles beef supplier based in Queensland, said the move was would be a positive for customers and a new supply opportunity for cattle producers.

"I applaud Coles for striving to continuously improve the eating quality of Coles beef for its consumers and for working closely with its cattle suppliers to deliver a fair outcome for all parties," Mr Foote said.

Coles Finest HGP-free beef range is already available in selected Coles stores. Coles Butcher beef will be progressively converted to HGP-free in stores from January 2011.

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READER COMMENTS

Kathleen
8/09/2010 1:50:26 PM

Applause to Coles,this is another step along the way for them to source only ethically produced food. They are now aware that every day consumers are waking up to the terrible treatment of animals on factory farms,and are choosing to purchase alternative products.Once again, thanks Coles for providing more free-range and vegetarian options.
RofA
22/09/2010 5:33:45 PM

Why don't they honestly label imported food so we can decide if we will buy it or leave it with them. Do you folk really believe that developing countries are paying their worker producers an ethical amount of the colesworth prices that you pay?
Skippy
23/09/2010 12:03:56 PM

Kathleen, beef in Australia is ethically produced. HGP's are NATURALLY occurring hormones anyway. If yearling calves were not castrated when young for management purposes that hormone would be there in normal amounts. As uncastrated calves in a open air feedlot, not a factory farm are harder to control we castrate them for management/safety purposes. I love every head of cattleof this place which is in excess of 1000 head. Is obvious you know very little about the industry.
Skippy
23/09/2010 1:01:54 PM

Kathleen, beef in Australia is ethically produced. HGP's are NATURALLY occurring hormones anyway. If yearling calves were not castrated when young for management purposes that hormone would be there in normal amounts. As uncastrated calves in a open air feedlot, not a factory farm are harder to control we castrate them for management/safety purposes. I love every head of cattleof this place which is in excess of 1000 head. Is obvious you know very little about the industry.

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COMMENTS

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Sorry Chops, but the reality is already here, we have been relegated to a nation of price takers
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I am in Dubai at the moment staggered by the price for Australian beef at any one of hundreds
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Rob an underpinning principle of a spot market that needs to be embedded is that the producers