How can I be sure my Australian meat product is free from chemical residues?

Australia’s red meat markets demand that Australian produce be free of unacceptable chemical residues. Australia’s ability to meet these demanding standards underpins its excellent agricultural and food safety reputation.

One of the key priority areas SAFEMEAT provides advice and direction into is specifically related to residues. SAFEMEAT's objective in working in this area is to assist in the development and implementation of sound management systems that deliver safe and hygienic meat products that comply with government standards and regulations relating to residues.

To ensure Australian meat products are safe for human consumption, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has established and maintains a series of Wthholding Periods, Export Slaughter Intervals and Export Grazing Intervals:

  • Withholding Periods
    A Withholding Period (WHP) is the time that must pass between chemical application, including through the feeding of treated feed and the slaughter, collection, harvesting or use of the animal commodity for human consumption. These are clearly printed on the label of all registered products and apply to both veterinary and agricultural chemicals.
  • Export Slaughter Intervals
    An Export Slaughter Interval (ESI) is the period that must lapse between chemical application to livestock and their slaughter for export.
  • Export Grazing Intervals
    An Export Grazing Interval (EGI) is the minimum time interval between application of a chemical to a crop or pasture and grazing by animals destined for slaughter.

Australian producers are required to follow label instructions which contain information relating to WHP, ESI and EGI and keep good records which enable them to give evidence of management practices that minimise and eliminate the risk of livestock residue contamination. These records are targeted and randomly audited through the on-farm food safety program, Livestock Production Assurance (LPA).

The APVMA independently evaluates the safety and performance of chemical products intended for sale, ensuring the health and safety of people, animals and the environment are protected. APVMA oversees the determination and regular review and update of appropriate WHPs, ESIs, EGIs and maximum residue levels, ensuring the ultimate product is safe for human consumption.

Did You Know...

Australia holds a disease free status for FMD and TSE (BSE or 'mad-cows' disease and Scrapie)

The Australian red meat industry works closely with state and federal government agencies to ensure Australia’s meat safety systems remain world class.

Australian red meat —
Safe, healthy and delicious.

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