Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook
australian BEEF

Processing of Australian Beef

The Australian Beef processing sector is a world leader in dressing and fabrication. Australian packing plants employ the latest technologies to ensure continued improvement in production efficiency without sacrificing high levels of meat safety. The Australian Beef industry strives to maintain its international reputation as a leader in food safety and quality. This commitment is backed by Australian government regulations and industry QA programs.

All Australian Export Beef packing plants are regulated by the Australian government through the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). AQIS is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Mexican Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganaderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentacion (SAGARPA) to inspect and regulate Australian export beef for the North American market. USDA, CFIA and SAGARPA ensure that AQIS carries out inspection services via an in-plant government inspector who verifies that Australia adheres to standards equivalent to U.S., Canadian and Mexican domestic meat plants. In addition, USDA, CFIA and SAGARPA conduct regular audits of Australian meat plants and individually licensed plants to produce beef for the North American market.

Meat Safety

As one of the world’s largest red meat exporters, the Australian red meat industry continually strives to maintain the highest standards worldwide.

In today’s demanding world marketplace, accountability and state-of-the-art HACCP-based food safety systems are essential to producing safe meat and earning consumer confidence. Australian beef producers and packers are committed to HACCP and delivering the safest meat possible to Australians and to consumers in over 120 countries throughout the world.

More information about Australia’s meat safety systems and standards are available at www.safemeat.com.au.


  • Dressing
  • Chilling
  • Fabrication
  • Halal Slaughter

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.

Excellent chilling practice is critical to maintaining the good microbiological status of carcasses.

In Australia, chillers are cleaned, sanitized and dried before carcasses are loaded. Carcasses need to be chilled to control the growth of bacteria. The Australian Standard for Hygienic Consumption of Meat requires that the surface temperatures of carcasses and quarters are reduced to 42°F (5.5°C) within 24 hours of stunning. Carcasses are not to be removed for transport unless all surfaces are reduced to a maximum of 42°F (5.5°C). Monitoring the real temperature of carcasses is imperative: the deep leg temperature is taken by inserting a thermometer probe near the head of the femur bone. Condensation in chillers—a possible cause of contamination—is avoided by careful temperature management.

The Australian Beef industry, together with the Australian government, constantly analyzes ways to further improve how carcass chillers are operated, with emphasis on inhibiting growth of E. coli and other pathogens.

Australian processing systems are focused on preventing contamination rather than reacting to it. All processing equipment is checked thoroughly to ensure sterility. All carcasses are trimmed of blood clots and hair before fabrication. Fabrication rooms must not exceed 50°F (10°C) during processing. This, plus employing the latest packaging techniques, helps inhibit bacterial growth and prolongs shelf life.

All production lines are monitored to ensure there is no interruption of product passing through the fabrication room and being boxed and chilled or frozen within the 60 minutes necessary to avoid spoilage. After chilling, carcasses are segregated into lines or lots prior to fabrication.

A tight production schedule determines the order in which each lot is fabricated. Once fabricated, boneless product is re-inspected to ensure it meets with standard cutting line. The Australian Beef industry prides itself on the low numbers of hard particles such as bone chips, cartilage and dense connective tissue found in our product, and we continually seek ways to improve product quality.

The Muslim consumer market is very important to the Australian Beef industry. Australia has a Government Supervised Muslim Slaughter System (AGSMS) that ensures high-quality product that is strictly Halal (“lawful” in Arabic). Australia is recognized as a world leader in Halal beef production. For its success, the AGSMS relies heavily upon the involvement and expertise of various Islamic organizations. These organizations are licensed to supervise, inspect and certify all Halal meat and meat products by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS).

 Halal Loogo 

Halal beef must have a program which complies 100 percent with AGSMS guidelines. All Halal meat processing facilities must submit to regular AGSMS inspections:

  • Processors may only employ registered Muslim slaughtermen.
  • Haram (“unlawful”) meat may not be processed in the same area as Halal product.
  • Halal and non-Halal product must be adequately separated and identified at all times.
  • Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and washed if it has been in contact with non-Halal meat.
  • Only genuine Halal products may be issued a Halal certificate, and only by recognized Islamic organizations.

For more information, download the Australian Halal Meat Products Guide.