Labels beef up consumer clarity

CONSUMERS buying meat will find it easier to know whether their beef is best for the barbecue or a casserole, with new beef labelling rules due to commence at the end of this month, Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said today.

“What this means for shoppers is there will be clear description of beef categories that will assist them in understanding the age of the animal their meat comes from,” Minister Whan said.

“The age can have an impact on the tenderness and flavour of the meat. Put simply younger best quality beef commands a premium price, whereas an older cow provides a cheaper cut.

“Consumers will now have clear information to help them decide which beef they might want to purchase to best suit their requirements."

For a long time industry has self regulated the use of supplementary labelling descriptions which include terms such as:

  • Grain fed/grass fed;
  • Organic;
  • Geographic origin;
  • Halal/Kosher; and
  • Aged/tenderised/marbled

With the commencement of the new beef labelling requirements any claims relating to production or processing systems must now be required to be accurate and substantiated.

NSW will become the first jurisdiction to provide enforceable “truth in labelling” requirements on beef intended for sale.

“A consumer education campaign is now being developed to ensure there is no question mark for consumers when it comes to choosing the type of beef best suited to their needs.

“It is anticipated the legislation will commence on August 31.

“For the first six months there will be an introduction period where the NSW Food Authority will be working with businesses to ensure their understanding and compliance with the new system with a moratorium on penalties.

“The consumer education campaign will then be rolled out in January next year to raise consumer awareness and understanding of what the new terms mean."

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