AUSTRALIAN BEEF PRODUCT GUIDEwww.australian-beef.com
ABOUTTHISGUIDEWe invite you to make Australian beef part of your specifications.Whether your requirements are for high quality, table ready cutsor manufacturing beef for foodservice items, Australian beef fitsinto your company plan. Our product range is extensive, andthere is an item to suit your every need.WHEN IT COMES TO QUALITY, Australian beef stands out from the competition. Foryears, North American customers have recognized that Australian beef is important totheir businesses. The following pages will give you a better understanding of how yourbusiness can benefit, too.This guide was developed specifically for the North American market. The range ofcuts is selective; therefore, the guide does not seek to cover an exhaustive range of meatitems. More detailed technical information on Australian meat cut specifications isavailable in the Australian Handbook of Meat, which can be obtained through Meat &Livestock Australia’s North American office. More information can also be found atwww.australian-beef.com.
WHY BUY AUSTRALIAN BEEFThe Australian beef industry is committed to producing safe, quality beeffor its customers around the world. These are several areas of focus inwhich we take particular pride. A RICH HISTORY IN BEEF PRODUCTION ADVANCED RANCH MANAGEMENT The Australian beef industry has been over 200 Australian cattle ranchers are recognized around years in the making. Foundations that were laid the world for their animal husbandry and many years ago have helped our industry evolve ranch management techniques. The Australian into the dynamic and progressive entity it is today. livestock industry takes pride in its genetics and The combined integrity of our ranchers and is at the forefront of technological advancements packers, along with the advantages of an unspoiled in livestock production efficiency. Australian environment, have underpinned Australia’s farmers are also highly progressive in the areas reputation for producing some of the highest of ranch and pasture improvement and water quality beef available. Australian beef is certainly a management. product of its environment. A MEAT PROCESSING LEADER The Australian meat processing sector is a world leader in beef dressing and fabrication. Australian packing plants employ the latest technologies to ensure continued improvement in production efficiency without sacrificing superior levels of meat safety.
AN EXPERIENCED EXPORTERAustralia has been exporting meat for over acentury and currently services customers in 120countries worldwide. The focus of the Australianbeef industry is fi rmly on exporting, which meansthe industry tailors production and packing to theneeds of its customers. Australia is the largest beefexporter in the world and is widely recognized asthe leader in export beef markets.A VARIETY OF PRODUCTS FOR EVERY NEEDThe Australian beef industry produces some ofthe fi nest beef in the world. While our industryis traditionally geared to producing high qualitygrass fed or range fed beef, there is a growingfeedlot industry—one that has been producingquality grain fed cattle destined for marketsaround the world. The Australian beef industry REGULATED BY USDA AND AG CANADAalso caters to the needs of different cultures, All Australian export meat packing plants areand many Australian packers produce Halal beef regulated by the Australian Federal Governmentguaranteed to adhere to Islamic laws. No matter through the Australian Quarantine & Inspectionwhat you require—from lean manufacturing beef Service (AQIS). AQIS is certified by the Unitedfor hamburger patties to grain fed beef for your States Department of Agriculture (USDA) andmost discerning customers—the Australian beef Agriculture Canada (Ag Canada) to inspect andindustry has the right product for you. regulate Australian export meat for the North American market. The USDA and Ag Canada ensure that AQIS carries out inspection servicesAN ENVIABLE ANIMAL HEALTH STATUS via on-plant Federal Government inspectorsAustralia’s animal health status is arguably one who ensure that Australia adheres to standardsof the highest in the world. The Australian cattle equivalent to those of US and Canadian Federallyherd is free of many diseases that exist in other Inspected meat plants. In addition, the USDA andparts of the world including BSE (“Mad Cow Ag Canada conduct regular audits of AustralianDisease”) and Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD). meat plants, and they individually license plantsIndustry and government zealously guard our to produce meat for the North American market.enviable status, and programs have been in placefor decades to maintain our superior standing.
PADDOCK-TO-PLATE QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEMSThe Australian meat and livestock industry hasdeveloped a series of integrated Quality Assurance(QA) programs across the supply chain. On theranch and feedlot, programs such as CATTLECAREand the National Feedlot Accreditation Schemeensure that health and production controls arein place to promote beef product quality andmeat safety. Australia’s integrated QA systembegins with Property Identification Codes (PICs).Each ranch in Australia is issued a unique PIC byState Governments, and the PIC identifies eachland holding and its regional location. Cattleraised on the land holding must have tail/ear tagsbearing the PIC. Animals remain correlated totheir PICs until they are deemed fit for humanconsumption by government inspectors. Thiscorrelation guarantees that any problems canbe quickly and easily traced back to the propertyon which they occurred and corrective actioncan be implemented. Further linking cattleproduction to the meat processing sector is theNational Vendor Declarations (NVDs), a statutorydeclaration by cattle ranchers as to the health andsafety of animals sold for processing, includinginformation regarding management and usage ofagricultural and veterinary chemicals. Australiahas also developed a new program of electroniccattle identification. The National LivestockIdentification System (NLIS) electronically storesthe PICs in a database, allowing for whole-of-lifecattle identification. On the processing side, allAustralian export meat packers operate under aHACCP plan, and each plant has its own Meat FROM OUR SHORES TO YOURSSafety Quality Assurance (MSQA) program.MSQA is a meat safety monitoring system that There are a variety of transport services available,utilizes Codex Alimentarius Commission HACCP designed to meet every requirement of the NorthMethodology and complies with USDA Mega Regs. American customer. A number of shipping lines service North America from Australia, and they offer both direct and transshipment services toSTATE-OF-THE-ART PACKAGING AND SHELF LIFE the East and West Coasts, with container and conventional service. The average shipment andThe Australian meat industry recognized many discharge time by sea is 20 days to the West Coastyears ago that packing and delivery are two critical and 30 days to the East Coast. The days at sealinks in the beef supply chain, particularly for are perhaps the most important to the quality ofinternational customers. The processing sector Australian chilled beef primal cuts. During thisemploys the latest packaging technologies to time, chilled, vacuum packaged cuts are allowedensure that Australian beef is delivered to export to age—a process that improves and enhances meatmarkets in the same high quality condition in quality and tenderness. Sea freight is the mostwhich it left the packinghouse. Australian chilled popular form of transport for Australian beefbeef primal cuts are vacuum packaged to maintain to North America; however, air shipment is alsofreshness and quality and to ensure extended shelf available, with discharge times of 18 hours to thelife. Strict temperature control is maintained West Coast and 21 hours to the East Coast.throughout the delivery process, inhibitingbacterial growth and giving Australian beef a shelflife of up to 120 days.
AUSTRALIAN QUALITY ASSURANCE*Cattlecare- ON FARM FOR GRASS FED CATTLE- COVERS MANAGEMENT, CHEMICALS AND LIVESTOCK- BASED ON HACCP AND ISO 9002- INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED*National Feedlot Accreditation >- GRAIN FED CATTLE- CONTROLS ON HEALTH AND PRODUCTION- ALL EXPORT BEEF PRODUCED IN ACCREDITED FEEDLOTS*Meat Safety Quality Assurance (MSQA)- HACCP PROGRAM FOR MEAT PROCESSING FACILITIES- SANITARY STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES- MICROBIOLOGICAL TESTING SUPERVISED BY AQIS*Packing, Shipping, Delivery- LATEST PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY- CONTAINERS SEALED BY GOVERNMENT (AQIS) INSPECTORS- TEMPERATURE MONITORING THROUGHOUT SHIPPING- RE-INSPECTED BY RELEVANT GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY AT PORT OF ENTRY AUSTRALIAN BEEF TRACEABILITY*Property Identification Code (PIC)- EACH RANCH HAS AN INDIVIDUAL EIGHT-DIGIT CODE ISSUED AND ADMINISTERED BY THE GOVERNMENT >*Tail Tag System- RANCHES HAVE PICS PRINTED ON CATTLE TAIL TAGS- TAIL TAGS APPLIED TO CATTLE BEFORE LEAVING RANCH- PICS SENT TO CENTRAL DATABASE TO MONITOR STATUS AND AUTHENTICITY*National Vendor Declaration (NVD)- VENDOR FORM COMPLETED BY CATTLE OWNERS PRIOR TO SALE- MANDATORY BY ALL PACKERS- FORM INCLUDES DETAILS OF OWNER AND PIC- EXPOSURE TO AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY CHEMICALS DECLARED- DISCLOSURE OF HORMONE GROWTH PROMOTANT USE DECLARED- PENALTIES FOR DECLARATION OF FALSE INFORMATION*National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)- NEW PROGRAM ALLOWING PIC INFORMATION TO BE STORED ELECTRONICALLY- DATA TRANSFERRED TO CENTRAL DATABASE- ULTIMATE WHOLE-OF-LIFE TAGGING SYSTEM*Processing Plant- PICS RECORDED- CARCASSES TICKETED AND IDENTIFIED WITH PERTINENT INFORMATION- PIC NUMBERS CORRELATED WITH CARCASS TICKETS- BOXED BEEF MATCHED TO PLANT PRODUCTION RECORDS- ALL DATA HELD IN COMPANY DATABASES- CONTAINER NUMBER FOR EXPORT MEAT RECORDED IN GOVERNMENT DATABASE
ALL ABOUT AUSTRALIAN BEEFAustralian beef has the “natural advantage.” Our cattle graze on openpasture and most are exclusively range fed. Australia has nearly 28 millionhead of cattle, and our breeds are divided into two main varieties—temperatebreeds and tropical breeds. Temperate breeds of cattle are generally European derived—breeds such as Hereford and Angus. Cattle of this variety are most predominant in the southern parts of the country, where the climate is milder and the land is rich, fertile and abundant in pasture. Tropical breeds of cattle are generally derived from Bos Indicus type breeds, such as Brahman and Droughtmaster. These breeds are ideal for Australia’s northern areas, which are tropical with monsoon rains in the summer. GRASS FED BEEF In Australia, most cattle are raised and fattened exclusively on pasture. Variations in seasonal and geographic factors influence the style and quality of grass fed beef. Australian grass fed beef is lean. It is favored by many consumers because it is healthy, low in fat and cholesterol, and contains higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are thought to lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of some cancers. This is principally why grass fed beef is spearheading a “natural foods” revolution in North America, with demand growing in retail and foodservice sectors.
IT STARTS WITH THE CATTLEGRAIN FED BEEFGrain fed beef is derived from cattle that have been fed on a nutritionally balanced, high energy finishedration for a minimum specified number of days. This feeding regime results in a more consistent productand enhanced marbling, which contributes to improved tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Grain fed beeffrom Australia generally yields more consistent fat and meat color, to which North American operatorsmay be more accustomed. Typical feeding regimes in Australia are: short fed (100 to 150 days), mediumfed (150 to 200 days) and long fed (200+ days). Australian grain fed beef is highly regarded in manyexport markets, and Australia has developed a reputation for producing some of the best grain fed beefin the world.LEAN MANUFACTURING BEEFAustralia produces an ample supply of lean manufacturing beef for further processing. Australian beefcontinues to satisfy the demanding needs of processors and their customers in North America and aroundthe world. With its terrific versatility, Australian beef can be used to produce everything from hamburgerpatties to coarse ground beef to meat balls, roast beef and pastrami, to name just a few.Australian lean manufacturing beef has consistent fat-to-lean ratios (chemical lean) for manufacturingpacks, low micro counts and extremely low rejection rates. Australian manufacturing cuts are lean andclosely trimmed to specifications. Manufacturing cuts for further processing are available in both frozenand chilled (fresh) form.
HOW TO BUY AUSTRALIAN BEEFUNDERSTANDING THE AUS-MEAT LANGUAGEOrdering Australian beef is simple and understanding the AUS-MEATlanguage is the first step. AUS-MEAT is an industry-funded organization responsible for establishing and maintaining Australian meat specifications. The AUS-MEAT language is a uniform specification language for Australian meat products that enables importers and wholesalers to accurately specify the meat product they wish to purchase from an exporter or seller. The AUS-MEAT language is outlined in detail in the AUS-MEAT Handbook of Australian Meat (HAM). The AUS-MEAT language is based on product description and objective measurements of various carcass traits, such as hot weight, fat depth, sex and age of the animal. AUS-MEAT has assigned a distinct four-digit number—Handbook Of Meat, or HAM number—for every primal cut and offal product. The category descriptions and HAM numbers are vital components when ordering Australian beef.
Chiller assessment is conducted by qualified company personnel, and company chiller assessment programs are regularly audited by AUS-MEAT to ensure their integrity. UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF AGE AND FEEDING ON CHILLER ASSESSMENT 7 6 5 4 3 LMC : LIGHT MEAT COLOR may indicate young cattle COLOR DARKER (especially slaughter veal and calves) THAN THE 6 CHIP DMC : DARK MEAT COLOR may indicate cattle have 2 1C 1B 1A been stressed prior to slaughter 9 8 7 6 5 LFC : LIGHT FAT COLOR may indicate cattle have been COLOR fed grain rations DARKER THAN THE 8 CHIP YFC : YELLOWEST FAT COLOR may indicate cattle have been 4 3 2 1 0 grass fed (typically mature steers, bullocks or heifers ) AM : ABSENCE OF MARBLING may indicate cattle have been grass fed PM : PREVALENCE OF MARBLING may indicate cattle have been fed grain rations AUSTRALIAN MEAT QUALITY— CHILLER ASSESSMENT TOTAL RIB FAT SUBCUTANEOUS RIB FAT Australian meat processors objectively measure TRF RF carcass quality using an industry program called “chiller assessment.” This is principallyTHICKNESS OF RIB FAT, SUBCUTANEOUS AND THICKNESS OF SUBCUTANEOUS RIB FAT, AT how we “grade” carcasses. Chiller assessmentINTRAMUSCULAR, AT A SPECIFIC POINT ON A A SPECIFIC POINT ON A FOREQUARTER IN is used to objectively measure the qualityFOREQUARTER IN MILLIMETERS (MM). MILLIMETERS (MM). characteristics of a beef carcass, allowing*10MM = 3⁄4 INCH *10MM = 3⁄4 INCH the processor to accurately communicate the characteristics of the carcass to a buyer. Chiller FAT COLOR MEAT COLOR assessment enables the buyer to accurately FCCOLOR OF INTRAMUSCULAR FAT LATERAL MC specify the type of product desired. Once carcasses have been chilled and before COLOR OF THE RIB EYE MUSCLE. ASSESSEDTO THE RIB EYE MUSCLE. ASSESSED FROM FROM 1A (LIGHT) TO 7 (DARK).0 (WHITE) TO 9 (YELLOW). they are further processed, they can be chiller assessed. Chiller assessors can evaluate the following attributes at the rib eye: MARBLING EYE MUSCLE AREA RIB FAT MB EMA MARBLING EYE MUSCLE AREA MEAT COLORFAT THAT IS DEPOSITED BETWEEN THE AREA OF THE RIB EYE MUSCLE IN SQUAREINDIVIDUAL MUSCLE FIBRES OF THE CENTIMETERS (CM). FAT COLORLONGISSIMUS DORSI MUSCLE. ASSESSEDFROM 1 (LEAST) TO 6 (MOST). *1 SQUARE CM= 0.56 SQUARE INCHES
ORDERING AUSTRALIAN BEEF THERE ARE THREE EASY STEPS TO ORDERING AUSTRALIAN BEEFSTEP 1: DEFINE THE CATEGORY OR ALTERNATE CATEGORYAs a first step to ordering Australian beef, you should let your supplier know the desired age and sex ofthe cattle that will be processed into your desired beef cuts. This specification is known as the category.There are two options available when defining the category. If you aren’t too concerned about the age ofthe animal or the variability of meat quality, you can define beef by basic categories. BASIC CATEGORIES If you want... The category code is... What this means... MEAT FROM CATTLE WITH NO ADULT TEETH. VEAL V TYPICALLY, LESS THAN 70KG (154 LBS) DRESSED WEIGHT. CAN BE MALE OR FEMALE. MEAT FROM CATTLE WITH BETWEEN 0 AND 8 BEEF A ADULT TEETH. TYPICALLY, GREATER THAN 70KGS (154 LBS). CAN BE CASTR ATED MALE OR FEMALE. MEAT FROM CATTLE WITH BETWEEN 0 AND 8 BULL B ADULT TEETH. MUST BE UNCASTR ATED MALE.However, if you are looking for meat that has been derived from animals of a certain age and thereforeexhibits less variance in quality, you can define meat by alternative categories. You will notice that thecriteria used to define alternate categories are more narrowly specified than those for basic categories.
ALTERNATIVE CATEGORIES If you want... The category code is... What this means... YEARLING BEEF OR -NO ADULT TEETH YEARLING STEER Y OR YS -UP TO 18 MONTHS OF AGE* -MAY BE MALE OR FEMALE IF Y, BUT MUST BE MALE IF YS -0,1, OR 2 ADULT TEETH YOUNG BEEF OR -UP TO 30 MONTHS OF AGE* YOUNG STEER YG OR YGS -MAY BE MALE OR FEMALE IF YG, BUT MUST BE MALE IF YGS YOUNG PRIME BEEF -BETWEEN 0 AND 4 ADULT TEETH OR YOUNG PRIME YP OR YPS -UP TO 36 MONTHS OF AGE* STEER -MAY BE MALE OR FEMALE IF YP, BUT MUST BE MALE IF YPS PRIME BEEF OR -BETWEEN 0 AND 7 ADULT TEETH PRIME STEER PR OR PRS -UP TO 42 MONTHS OF AGE* -MAY BE MALE OR FEMALE IF PR, BUT MUST BE MALE IF PRS -BETWEEN 0 AND 7 ADULT TEETH OX (FEMALE) S -UP TO 42 MONTHS OF AGE* -MUST BE FEMALE OX (MALE) OR -BETWEEN 0 AND 8 ADULT TEETH STEER S OR SS -MAY BE ANY AGE -MUST BE MALE -8 ADULT TEETH COW C -OVER 42 MONTHS OF AGE* -MUST BE FEMALE * Stated ages are approximate.STEP 2: DEFINE THE PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONA product specification defines attributes of each product. When defining the specification toyour supplier, you might include the following: • The cut name you wish to purchase • The product or cut’s corresponding Handbook of Australian Meat (HAM) number • Grass fed or grain fed • Degree of marbling, fat color and meat color • Fat depth, degree of trimming, whether various muscles and bones remain intact or are removedSTEP 3: DEFINE OTHER REQUIREMENTSRequirements not specifically related to the product specification should also be defined.These requirements may include: • Chilled or frozen product • Packaging (vacuum packed, layer packed, multi packed, etc.) • Price • Quantity • Shipping terms • Delivery date
LABELING IDENTIFICATION 17 EXAMPLE OF EXPORT CARTON LABEL 1 16 All cartons of Australian beef are identified 2 with labels that carry detailed information about the product. Carton labels display 10 153, 4 mandatory information required under 14 5 Australian Federal Government regulation. 6 This mandatory information is also 7 consistent with requirements of the United 8 States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Agriculture Canada for labeling of 9 13 imported beef products. In addition to the mandatory information, Australian packers may include optional information on the 11 12 label, allowing for further description of the product for trade purposes. 1. Generic Statement: Boneless and identification of 9. Net Weight: Meat content of the carton less all species. packing material and shown to two decimal places 2. EAN Bar Code: Bar code that has been developed in kilograms. in compliance with the international meat industry 10. Carton Serial Number: Serial number is the same as guidelines. shown in the bar code. 3. Carcass Identification: Category cipher, which identifies 11. Refrigeration Statement: “Keep Frozen” indicates that carcass age and sex (*PR*). the product in the carton has been frozen from time 4. Product Identification: Primal cut cipher description of packing. (STL – STRIPLOIN). 12. Country of Origin: This is an export requirement and is 5. Packaging Type: IW/VAC indicates that the product has applied to all cartons from export establishments. been Individually Wrapped and Vacuum Packed. 13. AI Stamp: Australia Inspected stamp. 6. Primal Weight Range: Indicates that each primal cut in 14. Number of Pieces: Indicates the number of primal cuts the carton is in the minimum/maximum weight range in the carton. as shown on the label. 15. Batch Number: This is an in-house company 7. Packed-on Date: Indicates the day, month, year and identification number for a production batch for time that the product was packed into the carton. product trace-back purposes when required. 8. “Best Before” Date: Indicates that packaged date is at 16. Company Code: In-house identification code for the the end of the period for meat stored in accordance product in the carton. with any stated storage condition. Meat marked with 17. Company Trading Name: Indicates the trading name of “Best Before” date can be sold after that date, provided the packer of the product. the meat is not damaged, deteriorated or perished. Meat marked with “Used By” date is prohibited from being sold after that date.
www.australian-beef.comMeat & Livestock Australia1401 K Street NW, Suite 602Washington DC 20005Telephone 202 521 2551Facsimile 202 521 2699