In recent years the ability to trace products from their origin has been increasingly sought by domestic and international customers. Australia has developed rigid systems to ensure that the traceability of its red meat and livestock is fail proof.
In fact, Australia has had traceability systems in place for over 40 years. Australia's systems include:
- Property Identification Codes
- National Livestock Identification System
- Livestock Production Assurance
- National Vendor Declaration and Waybill
- National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme
- National Saleyard Quality Assurance
- Processing protocols and labelling
- Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services Health Certificate
Property Identification Codes
The Property Identification Code (PIC) system has been used in Australian since the 1960s and is based on a unique identification number assigned to each farm. This system now underpins Australia’s primary traceability tool, the National Livestock Identification System.
National Livestock Identification System
The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) enables livestock to be traced from their property of birth to slaughter. Livestock must be tagged with an approved NLIS device (such as an ear tag or rumen bolus) before they leave their property of birth. These tags allow animal movements to be recorded in a central, national database.
NLIS provides the assurance of livestock trace-back to the property of birth and trace-forward from the property of birth for:
- Meat safety
- Product integrity
- Market access
NLIS is underpinned by State and Territory legislation which forms the regulatory framework for the system.
Livestock Production Assurance
Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) is an independently audited on-farm food safety certification program that underpins the LPA National Vendor Declaration and Waybill. Together these two programs uphold Australia’s reputation as a world leader in meat and livestock food safety and product traceability.
LPA enables producers to back up claims made on their LPA National Vendor Declaration and Waybill which provides a mechanism for the transfer of information on the husbandry of the livestock consigned for sale or slaughter.
LPA National Vendor Declaration and Waybill
The LPA National Vendor Declaration and Waybill (LPA NVD/Waybill) must be provided when livestock change ownership and contains important information regarding the husbandary of the animals while on the property of consignment.
The LPA NVD/Waybills are a statutory declaration that livestock owners must sign and are vital in Australia’s product traceability systems and assist to effectively trace livestock movements throughout their life.
National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme
All grainfed animals destined for export are required under the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) to be individually identified with a permanent unique identification number when they enter a feedlot. This information is recorded within the NLIS database and enables trace-back to the farm the animal was sourced from and trace-forward to the point of slaughter.
Records must be kept to allow the health and feeding history of each individual animal to be traced.
National Saleyard Quality Assurance
Under the National Saleyard Quality Assurance (NSQA) program, livestock identification procedures are in place to ensure full livestock traceability is maintained throughout the saleyard process. Transactions are recorded in the NLIS database.
Processing protocols and labelling
Traceability in all export processing plants is mandatory and underpinned by government legislation. Processing plants must ensure precise trace-back throughout the processing plant. All carcases must be correlated with PIC numbers which are stored in a central database.
Once boxed all Australian meat is clearly labelled for product trace-back, including:
- Australian inspection stamp
- Processor’s establishment number
- Date of production
- Processing company
- Net weight statement
- Refrigeration statement
- Category of meat
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services Health Certificate
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) Health Certificate verifies that the processed meat has received an ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection and is suitable for human consumption. This enables traceability of the product as it moves into export markets.
Cartons of meat are loaded into refrigerated containers which are then inspected and sealed under AQIS supervision. The container is not reopened until it reaches its final destination.
The container and seal numbers for all meat exports are stored in a central database by AQIS, completing the entire supply chain traceability of Australia’s red meat, from place of birth to final export container.
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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.