According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, a beef product is any food prepared from or containing beef. Australian beef includes bone, meat and offal of buffalo, cattle, or bison. These animals can be grouped into two main classes.
Beef from animals raised exclusively on pasture. Quality is influenced by seasonal and geographic factors. Australian grass-fed beef has low fat and cholesterol but is high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Carcasses have been primarily fed on nutritionally balanced rations for a stipulated amount of time. This practice boosts marbling while enhancing tenderness, juiciness, and flavour.
Once slaughtered, the ensuing beef products can be grouped as:
- all raw (chilled or frozen) products which include carcasses, whole muscle meat, and bone-in cuts.
- non-intact cuts, offal, round uncooked (chilled or frozen) beef, and beef trimmings for grinding.
- brain and spinal material, blood and blood products, reproductive organs and natural sausage casings.
AUS-MEAT Language Classification
Beef products can also be classified according to weight, fat depth, sex and age of the animal as defined by the AUS-MEAT language, a uniform language for the Australian beef industry.
Chiller Assessment Classification
Australian meat processors grade carcass quality using a routine called ‘chiller assessment’. Using this method, beef can be classified using the following attributes.
- Total Rib Fat (TRF) – Thickness of subcutaneous rib fat in millimetres.
- Subcutaneous Rib Fat (RF) – Thickness of rib fat subcutaneous and intramuscular in millimetres.
- Marbling (MB) – fat that is deposited between muscle fibres. MB is checked against the AUS-MEAT and Meat Standards Australia (MSA) manuals to determine the amount of marbling in beef, and the size of marbling blocks.
- Eye Muscle Area (EMA) – total rib-eye muscle area in square centimetres.
- Meat Colour (MC) – Colour of the rib eye muscle which ranges from 1A (light) to 7 (dark).
- Fat Colour (FC) -Colour of intramuscular fat flanking the rib eye muscle. Graded from 0 (white) to 9 (yellow).