The widely anticipated Australian Beef Language White Paper has been released for industry stakeholder comment.
The language has been the focus of an independent white paper review driven by CCA with the support of other peak industry councils.
CCA said it had sought a progressive and dynamic beef language to be used consistently post farm-gate for domestic and international markets.
The recommendations in the Australian Beef Language White Paper are grouped under seven themes, and focus on progressive modifications and additions to the present AusMeat language.
Designed about 20 years ago as a trade language, the AusMeat system is internationally recognised under many free-trade agreements.
Cattle Council said it had pushed for a reformed beef trading language to improve the system’s accountability and transparency, and be based on objective measurement supported by scientific evidence.
The new language has the potential to send clear market signals to economically reward supply chain members delivering products to consumer expectation, CCA said.
Almost two years in the making, the white paper outlines descriptors for production, processing, wholesaling, retailing, consumption and government requirements.
CCA president Howard Smith said the white paper would provide an independent, evidence-based assessment of the future needs of the Australian beef language over the next 30 years.
Mr Smith said many recommendations in the paper had the potential to save producers thousands of dollars by reducing discounting and Meat Standards Australia non-grades.
“Cattle Council has been fighting for this white paper for some time,’’ he said.
“It has been a key policy to make improvements to the beef language. The language must continually evolve to accommodate changing needs in consumer demands, market access requirements, new processing and description technologies, breeding and on-farm management, while seeking to provide a balance between scientific knowledge and commercial reality.’’
Under its own submission on the white paper, CCA recommended the removal of dentition and butt shape from the existing beef language.
The council also recommended that greater scrutiny be placed on standard carcase trim before the determination of Hot Standard Carcase Weight.
Mr Smith said specifications with no relevance to consumer requirements, including dentition, were distorting key market indicators, resulting in price discounts for cattle producers.
He urged cattle producers to provide feedback on the Australian Beef Language White Paper.
“The more interest and support shown by the grassfed sector for implementing change, the more likely change will occur,’’ he said.
Mr Smith said the implementation of recommendations made in the paper, and their associated timeframes, remained in industry hands.
The white paper was commissioned by CCA, Australian Lot Feeders Association, Australian Meat Processor Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia.
- The Australian Beef Language White Paper, including details for lodgements of comments, can be accessed here.