Australian red meat industry vows to ‘rise to the challenge’ of coronavirus

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Representatives of the sector held its second virtual round table to ensure all parts of the supply chain adapt to the evolving coronavirus response and to “ensure high quality and nutritious meat for all Australians”.

Red Meat Advisory Council independent chair Don Mackay said the industry was working to keep the supply chain open.

“COVID-19 has created great uncertainty for business and customers alike, but consumers of our product can be confident that our biosecurity and food safety practices are second-to-none,”​ he said.

“We will rise to the challenge and keep our red meat supply chain – retailers, wholesalers, processors, livestock exporters, lot feeders and producers – secure. We have the experience and the systems to do it.”

Export supply lines

Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) chairman David Galvin said to date Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments have committed to keeping supply lines open.

“Our industry is currently exporting red meat to over 100 countries globally, and we have a responsibility to continue to support our regional neighbours and their food production systems at this critical time,”​ said Galvin.

“We are committed to keeping the industry running so we can support the communities that support us. Federal, State and Territory Governments can help support industry immediately by waiving fees and charges on the industry to help offset increased public health costs.”

Australian Lot Feeders’ Association president Bryce Camm said the industry can easily supply Australians with protein during the COVID-19 response.

Red meat is justifiably considered ‘prime’ meat by consumers as it is viewed as the most superior and delicious. But we export about 75% of what we produce so there is no shortage of meat domestically,”​ said Camm. “The volume of meat exported also highlights how critical is that trade remains open so we can continue helping feed the world.”

Processing and production

On the processing and retailing side, Australian Meat Industry Council CEO Patrick Hutchinson said it was important government worked with the supply chain to keep Australians fed and supporting regional communities.

“The supply of high quality and nutritious red meat is an essential service for our customers both at home and overseas,”​ he said. “We are also the largest manufacturing sector in Australia, with most of our people employed in regional areas, so keeping the industry strong was vital in making sure these economies bounce back after the pandemic.”

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