Australian Beef packers use an especially thorough pre-harvest preparation process. These practices are designed to ensure the humane treatment of livestock, and are a key reason why Australia’s animal welfare standards are second to none. All livestock are rested and given access to fresh drinking water while they fast prior to slaughter. This reduces stress to the animals, and ensures that only healthy, calm animals are presented for slaughter. Cattle are washed prior to slaughter to remove any dirt and fecal matter. This reduces the likelihood of bacterial contamination, as does slower line speeds that allow more control and time for careful handling and management.
During the carcass dressing process, AQIS inspectors look for and remove defects that affect the overall wholesomeness of the carcass. The final assessment of a carcass is performed on the slaughter floor after the final trim, and prior to the final wash.
All Australian Export Beef plants use computer-generated labeling technology that tracks product throughout the line. Traceback procedures link processing, production and marketing sectors of the beef industry, providing information about product safety, quality and marketability. The detail of traceback mechanisms and their importance to the industry are demonstrated by the fact that they provide more information than is required by Australian authorities.
Immediately after slaughter, cattle ear tags are scanned electronically. Each ear tag is then placed in a sterile plastic bag and attached to the hook conveying the carcass. During processing, at the end of the slaughter line, all pertinent carcass information, including operator number, lot number, body ID, sex, age, fat depth and hot carcass weight, is entered into a computer terminal. A carcass ticket containing all pertinent information is printed and affixed to each carcass side in a fashion that ensures it remains adhered to the carcass for the duration of cooling and until it is transferred to the fabrication room, generally the following day.