THE INTRODUCTION of an industry standard for grass-fed beef is drawing ever closer, according to Cattle Council Australia (CCA) president Greg Brown.
Discussions with larger Australian processors have proved this sector to be “very supportive”, Mr Brown said and at this stage in the process, CCA is negotiating with AusMeat to put in place a mechanism to audit the authenticity of producers’ product.
“We are about to put a document together to present to AusMeat and we have some processors looking at it quite enthusiastically,” Mr Brown said.
Beef certified as grass-fed will be differentiated from other product by meeting five separate specifications – Meat Standards Australia grading, antibiotic and HGP-free, have never been confined except for the purposes of weaning or fed grain.
With the majority of beef in Australia already grass-fed, Mr Brown said the issue will become identifying the top 10 or 15 per cent of the market and ensuring it can be produced to meet the standard.
Producers will then be rewarded with a premium price which Mr Brown expected to evolve as the market is established and understood.
The environment the animal was raised in will be a strong marketing point appealing to a portion of consumers, Mr Brown said, alongside flavour and tenderness.
“We think the environment these animals have been raised in will appeal very much.”
Producers from all areas of Australia, excluding the Northern Territory are expected to be able to supply the product.
There will be no breed restrictions placed on the grass-fed standard but individual companies will have specifications attached which producers will need to meet.
The product will be tagged with a grass-fed AusMeat audited logo, together with the processors own brand.
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