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Grading System Adds $244 million to Oz Beef Industry

16 June 2009

AUSTRALIA - A unique beef grading scheme designed and created by the Australian beef industry and the Beef Cooperative Research Centre has delivered A$244 million to the Australian beef industry.

Meat Standards Australia (MSA), underpinned by science conducted by the Beef Cooperative Research Centre is a beef grading scheme which, depending on how the beef is cooked, guarantees tenderness.

A new study found MSA, a Meat and Livestock Australia initiative delivered $159 million for the cattle industry between 1999 and 2005 and a further $85 million to the bottom line for the beef industry this financial year.

Announcing the study results, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile said he and the coalition government were proud to be a part of the world class research underway by the Beef CRC.

“Australia is regarded as world leader in beef technology innovation,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, “Its reputation is enhanced by the work of the Beef CRC proudly supported by the Government of which I am a part.”

“According to the study, MSA has increased profits for every sector of the industry – cattle producers, feedlotters and processors.”

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile also said the return on investment represents more than three and a half times the total Australian Government funding provided to the Beef CRC (for a period of twenty years through to 2012).

“Technologies like MSA developed by the Beef CRC will help maintain Australia’s status as a premium beef exporter.”

The $244 million amounts to an extra twenty cents per kilogram of beef graded through MSA according to Allan Bloxsom, of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) while at the same time helping to increase consumer benefits via better quality assurance and improved production processes.

“The MSA model is unprecedented in accuracy and takes into account all the Critical Control Points (CCPs) of beef production that impact on palatability,” said Mr Bloxom. "From the farm to the abattoir and even during the value-adding phase, MSA predicts how well the beef will eat when it is cooked at home by the consumer using a star grading system where 3 star is ‘good every day’, 4 star is ‘better then every day’ and 5 star is ’premium’.”

A new phase for MSA is currently being investigated by the Beef CRC, using research to quantify the effect of novel gene markers for tenderness in terms of consumer taste panel scores.

“In the future, if an animal has the appropriate gene markers for tenderness or palatability, the MSA model could allocate additional points to the individual cuts of meat,” said Dr Heather Burrow, CEO of the Beef CRC.

The new research will use data collected by the Beef CRC and MSA, where results for meat quality tests and DNA were collected on a large number of cattle from different experiments.

“In total, about twenty thousand cattle have been genetically characterised by the Beef CRC,” said Dr Burrow.

“This will allow genes for economically important traits to be identified in the Australian herd, and also become indicators for high quality product as part of Meat Standards Australia.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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