White paper reveals beef language reforms

January 21, 2016

The prospect of a reformed beef trading language, with the potential to send clear market signals along the supply chain, has been welcomed by Cattle Council of Australia.

The Australian beef language is the focus of an independent  “white paper’’ driven by CCA with the support of other peak industry councils and released for public comment today.

Cattle Council 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 AUS-MEAT language.

Designed about 20 years ago as a trade language, the AUS-MEAT system is internationally recognized under many free-trade agreements.

Cattle Council has 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, according to CCA.

Almost two years in the making, the white paper outlines discriptors for production, processing, wholesaling, retailing, consumption and government requirements.

Cattle Council of Australia 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 now,’’ 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, Cattle Council recommended the removal of dentition and butt shape from the existing beef language.

The council also recommended greater scrutiny placed on standard carcase trim before the determination of Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW).

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 grass fed 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 Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Lot Feeders Association, Australian Meat Processor Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia.

The Australian Beef Language White Paper can be accessed at


Media contact (NFP): Jed Matz 0407124479 or



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