In Australia there are no regulations governing the age of meat. We’re not talking here about hanging meat to ‘age’ but how old the animal is that is slaughtered and sent to market.
According to the SMH “shoppers have little way of telling the true quality of the meat they are buying because there is no grading system for locally sold beef, nor any onus on retailers to inform their customers of the quality of a cut …”
There is a voluntary grading scheme but only 12,500 of the 160,000 beef properties are registered to this scheme.
Under a Voluntary Beef Retail Agreement old meat is labeled ‘BUDGET’ but most Australians don’t realise that this is what the word means – they think only that they are getting a good deal. Now a New South Wales MP is looking to introduce a private members bill to increase the legislation around labeling of meat so that consumers know what they are buying.
Coles which is a large retail chain in Australia is selling ‘budget’ meat but isn’t concerned at the ambiguity around the word as they are following the guidelines, whereas Woolworths claim not to be in the market for buying old meat.
It seems that buying meat from a local butcher shop where you can discuss the providence of your purchase is looking more attractive – in Australia at least.
(Photo from Flickr)