22 March 1996

Beef standard is still too low

BEEF quality standards must go beyond the current classification and welfare assurance schemes to produce meat that is more nutritious and has better flavour.

This was the message from Keenans Donald Brown at the Beef 96 event. He criticised current schemes for failing to result in higher payments for better quality animals.

He said that meat value is not just influenced by the abattoir. Yet it is the abattoir that is targeted in the MLC Blueprint for improving consistency in quality beef.

The consumer wanted traceability, appearance, texture, tenderness and flavour, but the MLC blueprint implied that meat from producers is all the same, he said.

"Consumers are getting bored and moving towards chicken. They are not always in search of a healthier diet," he said. "Beef is only 5% fat and it is a healthy product with high mineral levels.

"By adding minerals and vitamins to beef rations, producers may not notice a difference in performance but may produce a more nutritious product."

Producers could also influence beef flavour by feeding extra amino acids which stay as free amino acids in the muscle improving the smell during cooking and flavour, he claimed.