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.

Withholding periods, export slaughter and export grazing intervals

To ensure Australian red meat products are safe for human consumption, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), has established and maintains a series of Withholding 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 purposes.
  • 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 for export purposes.

Australian producers are required to follow label instructions which contain information relating to WHPs, ESIs and EGIs 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.

SAFEMEAT actively promotes the observance of WHPs, ESIs and EGIs in order to prevent residues being present above the corresponding maximum residue limit for all markets. It is SAFEMEAT's objective that any potential residue problem be identified and appropriate management strategies developed and implemented in order to minimise market disruption should a residue violation occur.

SAFEMEAT risk assessments

Livestock producers need to be aware of chemical residues when purchasing supplementary feeds and by-product feeds for livestock. SAFEMEAT provides risk assessment documents for various alternate fodders: 

  •  Almond Hulls
    Full version Summary version
  •  Apple Pomace
    Full version Summary version
  •  Avocado/Mango waste
    Full version Summary version
  •  Banana Culls
    Full version     Summary version
  •  Cereal Forage Hay
    Full version       Summary version
  •  Cereal Grain
    Full version Summary version
  •  Citrus Pulp
    Full version Summary version
  •  Grape Pomace
    Full version Summary version
  •  Oilseed Forage Hay   
    Full version Summary version
  •  Oilseed Grain
    Full version    Summary version
  •  Pasture
    Full version Summary version
  •  Peanut Forage Hay
    Full version Summary version
  •  Pineapple Forage
    Full version Summary version
  •  Pulse Grain
    Full version Summary version
  •  Pulse Legume Forage
    Full version Summary version
  •  Sugarcane Tops Trash
    Full version Summary version
  •  Vegetable Waste 
    Full version   Summary version

Livestock producers must remain vigilant when purchasing and feeding supplementary feed and or by-products and should demand a stockfeed declaration from their supplier.

National Residue Survey (NRS)

The National Residue Survey (NRS) is an Australian government program that monitors agricultural products and meat producing animals for residues of primarily agricultural and veterinary chemicals, but also environmental and industrial contaminants.

Testing is carried out for a range of chemical compounds which current technology can detect at very low concentrations. The purpose of residue monitoring is to quantify the occurrence of residues in products and to verify that residues in products are within internationally acceptable limits.

Should acceptable limits be exceeded appropriate authorities are contacted, corrective action is taken and the affected product removed from the food chain.

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.

Find out more