Australia’s Beef Safety ProgramIntegrity and Traceability Systems SummaryINTEGRITY TRACEABILITYOn-Farm On-FarmLivestock Production Assurance (food safety • The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is and quality assurance) an electronic tag system of cattle and forms part of • Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) is an on-farm Australia’s beef traceability systems. food safety and quality assurance certification program, • NLIS has been mandatory in Australia from 2005. providing standards to assist livestock producers to • NLIS provides the assurance of livestock trace-back to declare food safety and quality assurance status of the property of birth and trace-forward from the property livestock including chemical use and animal feeding. of birth.• The LPA program requires livestock producers to use National Vendor Declaration (NVD), with details of the • Individual livestock properties are identified by an vendor, including Property Identification Code (PIC) eight-digit property identification code (PIC) issued by information pre-printed on the NVD. State Governments and underpin the NLIS system.• Vendors providing false information face severe penalties. • The PIC is printed on individual NLIS tags which must be applied to the animal before it leaves the property of birth.• The LPA food safety standard is audited at random throughout the year. Farms in the Quality Assurance • The PIC is sent to a central database where the residue program are audited annually. status is checked.Feedlot FeedlotNational Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) • The movement of cattle, including those from the farm to the feedlot must be recorded in the NLIS database.• Grainfed beef for export is produced in independently audited NFAS accredited feedlots. • Records must be kept to allow the health and feeding history of each individual animal to be traceable.• The scheme controls health and production and involves strict checks for feed and water safety. • Each feedlot has its own PIC.• Records must be kept to allow the health and feeding Saleyard history of each individual animal to be traceable. • When cattle pass though the saleyard, transactions are Transport and Saleyard recorded using NLIS.TruckCare Processing plant• Applied to livestock transportation based on maximising • Underpinned by government legislation and operating in animal welfare, meat quality and meat safety. all export processing plants.National Saleyards Quality Assurance • Processing plants must ensure precise trace back (NSQA) program throughout the processing plant• Addresses the key quality issues/hazards within the • Beef carcases must be correlated to the PIC numbers, saleyard sector. which are stored on a database.Processing Plant ShippingAustralian Standard • The container and seal numbers for all beef exports are stored in a central database by AQIS.• Underpinned by the Australian Government legislation. All exporting plants must comply with the Standard to ensure meat is processed hygienically. • Based on world’s best practice, it is consistent with ISO 9002:1994 and HACCP. • The Australian Government authority-Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) verifies the legislation is being correctly implemented.AQIS Health Certificate• Certifies that the meat produced by the export meat processor has received an ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection and is suitable for human consumption.Monitoring Programs• Microbiological Assessment -to comply with the Australian Standard, exporting processing plants must monitor E. coli and Salmonella.• The National Residue Survey is an Australian Government program that monitors meat for residues of agricultural, veterinary, environmental and industrial contaminants.Transport and ShippingAll shipping containers destined for export are inspected and sea-freighted containers sealed under AQIS supervision. • The container cannot be opened until it reaches its final destination.
Australia’s Beef safety systems AUSTRALIA’S ANIMAL DISEASE FREEDOM Australia has a widely accepted disease free status and is recognised as having the highest attainable level of BSE and FMD freedom. BSE, a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) that affects cattle, is an incurable central nervous system illness. Australia has strict quarantine measures and surveillance programs in place to meet international standards for the detection of TSEs. Supplying over 100 markets globally, Australia is one of the world’s largest beef exporters and we are proud of this achievement. The Australian livestock and meat industry • 1966 – a ban was placed on the importation of meat is committed to food safety, integrity, traceability and our and bone meal from all countries with the exception of product quality complements our focus on responsibility in New Zealand. meeting the demands of our international customers. • 1988 – a ban was implemented on importation of cattle from BSE affected countries, including the UK. Australia has an internationally recognised status of being • 1990 – commenced targeted testing for BSE in free of all major epidemic diseases of cattle, including Bovine Australian cattle. Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot and Mouth • 1991 – a ban was applied on the importation of cattle Disease (FMD). from France and Switzerland. • 1996 – implemented a voluntary ban on feeding of ruminant material to ruminants following a World Health To maintain Australia’s high product standards, the Australian Organization recommendation. beef industry and all levels of government have worked together to develop stringent standards and systems, • 1997 – a compulsory ban on feeding of ruminant designed to ensure the integrity and traceability of the product. material to ruminants was adopted in all states and These standards and systems are based on an assessment territories of Australia through legislation. of risk and sound science to meet the requirements of our • 1998 – adopted OIE guidelines for surveillance for international customers. BSE – the surveillance program applies to both cattle and sheep. • 1999 – the compulsory feeding ban was extended The Australian Government and industry have established to include feeding specific mammalian material SAFEMEAT, a committee consisting of representatives from to ruminants. government and industry. SAFEMEAT’s role is to ensure that • 2000 – Australia was recognised by the European all beef products achieve the highest safety and hygiene Union Scientific Steering Committee to have the lowest standards from the farm to the consumer. possible risk of BSE detection (Level 1). • 2001 – Australia’s Agricultural Ministers agreed to When customers purchase beef products from Australia legislate a ban on the feeding of all vertebrate materials they are receiving product from one of the most stringently to ruminants – a world first. controlled meat industries in the world, with independently • 2004 – Australia was recognised by the European Food audited systems for animal production throughout the chain, Safety Authority to have the lowest possible risk of BSE including the transport, processing and export sectors. detection (Level 1). • 2006 – Australia was recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a country free of BSE.
In 1997, Australia enacted legislation prohibiting the use INTEGRITY ANDof meat and bone meal (MBM) as a ruminant feed. These TRACEABILITY SYSTEMSregulations were further enhanced in 2001 with a ban on the feeding of any mammalian material to ruminants. Feeding All sectors of Australia’s beef industry from the farm, through MBM to animals has been linked to the transmission of TSEs to feedlots, transport, saleyards, and processing plants are in animals. able to implement integrity and traceability systems that operate under independently audited Quality Assurance (QA) programs developed in partnership by the Australian industry, Australia’s TSE status is further enhanced by the government and other relevant organisations. implementation of the National Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance Program (NTSESP) in 1998. ON-FARM AND FEEDLOT – INTEGRITYThis program was developed to meet the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) International Animal Health Code for the Livestock Production Assurance – On-Farmsurveillance of BSE in cattle and Scrapie in sheep. NTSESP Food Safety & Quality Assuranceis an integrated national program, funded by industry and The Australian cattle industry has developed integrity systems government, which involves identifying and testing cattle and to verify and assure the food safety status and other quality sheep with clinical symptoms that could be mistaken for TSE. attributes of livestock. Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) is an on-farm food safety and quality assurance (QA) certification The Australian red meat industry recognises that it is vital to program. These standards are designed to strengthen systems undertake monitoring and surveillance measures in order to currently in place for the grass-fed production sector.protect Australia’s TSE status. These measures are designed to ensure that Australia’s trading partners continue to be The LPA program was developed in accordance with ISO confident about Australia’s TSE-free status. 9002:1994 and HACCP principles as the production based food safety and quality assurance program for grass-fed As a result of these programs and strict quarantine measures, beef. Independent audits, both random and targeted, are Australia is recognised by the World Organisation for Animal conducted to ensure the program’s integrity is maintained.Health (OIE) as a country free of BSE. Australia is one of only a few countries to have this status in the world. The LPA on-farm food safety standard consists of a module, Food Safety Management. This module is made up of five elements, which are: 1. Property risk assessment. 2. Safe and responsible animal treatments. 3. Fodder crop, grain and pasture treatments and stock foods. 4. Preparation for dispatch of livestock. 5. Livestock transactions and movements.
The LPA on-farm quality assurance (QA) National Vendor Declaration (NVD) for Cattlestandard, incorporating the CATTLECARE Underpinning the LPA and NFAS integrity programs is the program, consists of the module Food National Vendor Declaration (NVD) for cattle; this links Safety Management, plus an extra two the traceability of the livestock from the farm, through to modules, Systems Management and feedlots, saleyards, transport and processing. The NVD Livestock Management. Both of these contains information about the location of the property, modules are each made of five elements, contact details of the vendor, the property identification which are: code (PIC), exposure of the livestock to agricultural and veterinary chemicals, grazing history and supplementary SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT feeding. The NVD declares that the vendor has met 1. Training 1. Livestock Husbandry and the requirements of LPA Food Safety, LPA QA or NFAS preparation depending on what program they are involved.2. Internal auditing and 2. Livestock handling Below is the declaration vendors provide after they have document control facilities answered the questions within the NVD.3. Quality Records 3. Livestock Transport4. Document Control 4. Animal Welfare5. Chemical Inventory 5. Accredited LivestockNational Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS)The National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) is a mandatary QA integrity system for feedlots producing grainfed beef for the Australian domestic market and all export markets. A feedlot is an intensive production system where the cattle are fed a prepared feed ration for a specific length of time depending on the final customer.Under the NFAS, the movement of cattle from the farm to the feedlot must be recorded in the NLIS database. In addition as outlined in a manual, health and production controls for grainfed cattle are applied through strict checks for feed and water safety, strict regulations are adhered to, with monitoring for veterinary treatments and inspection for pesticides or trace metals. Records must be kept to allow the health and feeding history As the person responsible for the husbandry of the of each individual animal to be traceable. cattle, I also declare that all the information in part A of this document is true and correct, that I have read and understood all the questions that I have answered, that I have read and understood the explanatory notes, and that, while under my control, the cattle were not fed restricted animal material (including meat and bone meal) in breach of State or Territory legislation. Signed: ____________________________Date: ___________ Phone: ( _____ ) _____________________________________ * nly the person whose name appears above may sign this O declaration, or make amendments which must be initialled. Commodity Vendor Declaration The Commodity Vendor Declaration (CVD) is a part of Australia’s red meat, grain and fodder industry’s commitment to deliver safe products. If a commodity supplier to a farm or feedlot has used chemicals in production of the commodity, it must be declared on the CVD. LPA and NFAS regulations require a CVD or a system to independently ensure the feed is residue free.
TRANSPORT AND SALEYARD – INTEGRITY TruckCare TruckCare is a voluntary quality assurance program applied to livestock transportation and is centred on maximising animal welfare, meat quality and meat safety. National Saleyards Quality Assurance (NSQA) program The National Standard for the Construction and Operation of Australian Saleyards forms the basis of the National Saleyard Quality Assurance (NSQA) program. The Standard addresses the key quality issues/hazards within the saleyard sector including food safety, product quality, stock identification and traceability.ON-FARM AND FEEDLOT – TRACEABILITYNational Livestock TRANSPORT AND SALEYARD – TRACEABILITYIdentification System (Cattle)The core basis of Australia’s livestock National Livestock Identification System (Cattle)traceability system is the Property The primary responsibility of saleyards participating in the Identification Code (PIC), which NLIS is reading and then recording in the NLIS database underpins Australia’s NVD and the cattle transactions that occur in the saleyard. Legislation National Livestock Identification System requires saleyards selling NLIS identified store / breeding (NLIS) programs. The PIC system cattle to up-load cattle movements to the NLIS database.was introduced in the late 1960s and identifies each property with an eight digit alphanumeric code. PROCESSING PLANTThe code is issued by State Governments and identifies the state, region and location of the property. A comprehensive level of activities to ensure integrity and traceability are carried out in processing plants. The Australian Federal and State Government organisations and industry NLIS is the Australian traceability conduct auditing and verification processes that form an system for grass-fed and grain-fed integral part of Australian control systems. Elements of these cattle. It was developed by the systems are subject to Australian Government legislation.Australian Government and the red meat industry. The NLIS is based on a ‘whole of life’ electronic tag on PROCESSING PLANT – INTEGRITY individual cattle, which utilises radio The Australian Standardfrequency technology and enables All export licensed processing plants operate under the individual animal transactions, Australian Standard for hygienic production and transportation including PIC information, to of meat and meat products for human consumption be recorded and transmitted (AS4696:2002) which is based on world’s best practice and electronically by the producer or processor. This information is is consistent with the ISO 9002:1994 standard. Additionally, transferred to a central database, allowing the tracing of cattle the Australian Federal government mandated HACCP-based from the farm to the point of slaughter to occur swiftly and quality assurance programs to be adopted for all Australian efficiently – this is one attribute that distinguishes the NLIS export abattoirs since 1997. from other traceability systems around the world. All registered abattoirs are required to have qualified veterinary All grainfed cattle in Australia personnel and inspectors stationed in each export meat destined for export markets abattoir to: are required by the NFAS to be • Carry out daily hygiene inspections before operations individually identified with a unique begin each day; identification number when they • monitor quality assurance and meat safety throughout enter a feedlot. the production process; and • conduct ante-mortem and post-mortem health inspections to ensure the safety and suitability of products for human consumption.
PROCESSING PLANT – TRACEABILITY National Livestock Identification System (Cattle) The primary responsibility of processors participating in the NLIS traceability program is reading and then recording in the NLIS database cattle transactions that occur at the processing plant. Legislation requires abattoirs processing NLIS identified cattle to up-load information to the NLIS database. On-Plant Product Traceability Government legislation underpins the traceability systems in all Australian beef export processing plants. Provisions under the EMOs require processors to implement traceability systems by accurately correlating the beef carcases with the PIC numbers for identification. Australian Quarantine and Inspection The information correlating the carcase and the PIC is stored Service (AQIS) on a database by the processing plant and ensures precise trace back through the processing plant from when the live Licensed export meat processing plants in Australia are animal arrives to when the final beef products are exported.required to operate under the Export Control Act 1982. Under this Act, Export Meat Orders (EMOs) provide the framework for meeting the detailed legislative requirements that apply to export meat plants. This Act governs all aspects of how meat is handled during processing. Each export meat abattoir has a veterinary officer from AQIS – the Australian Government agency responsible for meat hygiene, safety regulation and certification – to verify that the legislation is being correctly implemented.AQIS Health CertificateOnce the meat is ready for exporting, the processing plant will electronically request an AQIS Health Certificate. The AQIS Health Certificate states that beef produced was processed in an hygienic manner and was derived from animals which have been found by ante-mortem and post-mortem veterinary inspection to be free from diseases designated by the laws of the importing country and suitable in every way for human consumption. The AQIS Health Certificate includes information on the exporter, importer, processing plant, boning room, a description of the product including quantities, container marks/numbers, vessel or aircraft and the port of loading TRANSPORT AND SHIPPING – TRACEABILITYand discharge. The information obtained from the Health Cartons of beef are loaded into refrigerated containers, which Certificate is stored by AQIS in a central database. are then inspected and sealed under the supervision of AQIS. The container is not reopened until it reaches its final destination. To maintain the optimal shelf-life and quality of the beef product during transport, the temperature of chilled beef should be maintained at 0°C (±1°C) and below -18°C for frozen product.