The Australian meat processing industry has grown to be a world leader in beef packaging and fabrication. Australian processors use the latest technologies to ensure sustained packaging efficiency while maintaining superior levels of meat safety.
While there is a notable proliferation of feedlots and processing companies compared to cattle production across the country, Queensland maintains the largest processing capacity, 40%, due to its proximity to cattle supply.
The top three processors make up more than half of red meat production in Australia. The largest processors are also wholly or partially owned by foreign companies.
- NH Foods (Japan) 7%.
- Teys (merger with American Cargill) 21%.
- JBS (Brazil) 23%.
Beef Production Integrity and Tracking Systems
The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) seeks to identify and track down cattle for food safety, biosecurity, and market competitiveness. NLIS is based upon an electronic tag placed on each animal to record and transmit transactions by the producers or processor.
Additionally, the Livestock Product Assurance (LPA) system is tailor-made to preserve strict food safety and quality assurance standards for Australian beef. Producers are audited randomly for compliance.
The National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) is a mandatory integrity program for Australian feedlots covering beef production for both the local and export markets. It connects to the central NLIS database to record the movement of animals from the farm to the feedlot. Further oversight of health and production protocols for grain-fed beef guarantees forage and water safety, stringent modulation of veterinary treatments, and thorough inspection for pesticides or trace elements.
LPA and NFAS programs are supported by the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) project and its electronic version, eNVD. NVD tracks exposure of the cattle to any agricultural and veterinary chemicals, grazing history, and supplementary feeding.
A central record with NVD data must be retained for seven or more years. To sum up, these systems work together to guarantee product safety and the comprehensive end-to-end traceability of Australian beef.