With the live export of beef, the Australian clean and green brand is possibly under risk from processing and packaging taking place outside of Australia, while still being branded Australian.
Due to this risk a bill has been introduced to parliament in June 2017 that places restrictions on labelling Australian grown beef that has not been processed in Australia as “Australian”. If this bill is passed beef sold live to export markets would not be able to be branded as “Australian Produced”.
The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO Simon Westaway said “Australia produces a range of world-class farm commodities which are exported prior to processing due to the specific demand of the importer. Nonetheless, they are still Australian products and it is incorrect to suggest that they cannot or should not be marketed as such.”
“Australia’s livestock export trade is one of the nation’s top 10 agricultural exports, generating $2 billion annually in export returns and providing employment for up to 10,000 Australians per year” writes James Nason.
There are two risks with this, and the economic impact of either is unclear. The first is that the demand for live trade from our foreign markets decreases because of the inability to sell it as Australian. The second is that this bill is not introduced and quality is compromised or the meat is contaminated in offshore processing resulting in a damaged Australian brand. A possible positive resulting from the bill being passed, may be that more meat is processed in Australia rather than exported live, providing growth to the Australian meat processing industry. However, it is mentioned across many of the news reports that our world leading processing standards and having the highest regulatory burdens in the world also mean higher processing costs than some other countries.
Australian beef producers are doing a great job in producing high quality consistent beef for demanding global consumers. We hope the market conditions allow the strong demand for Australian beef to continue for the profitability of all Australian beef farms.
If you are interested a copy of the bill can be found at https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/434989/Reforms%20to%20Beef%20Industry%202017.pdf
Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, http://auslivestockexport.com/unworkable-beef-labelling-proposal-lacks-merit/
Nason, J. “Bid to ban beef from live exported cattle being sold as “Australian” product”, Beef Centra, 19 June 2017. https://www.beefcentral.com/live-export/bill-to-ban-sale-of-beef-from-live-exported-cattle-as-australian-product/
Image sourced from http://www.trueaussiebrands.com/ 13 July 2017.