Thursday, November 26, 2009


The Food Amendment (Beef Grading) Bill 2008 was passed by the Legislative Council today with only minor amendment (the Act will will be entitled “Beef Labelling” rather than “Beef Grading”).

The Act is to come into force by proclamation of the Minister for Agriculture next year.

Today's developments represent the culmination of a long process of industry consultation and negotiation, and Richard Torbay must be congratulated for his dedication and perseverance in supporting this legislation.

The Bill provides for AUS-MEAT product descriptors, which are currently removed at the back of the retail door, to be made available for consumers at the shop front. It also requires labels describing a product as "budget" must also carry the description "low grade" or "low quality".

Fines will apply to retailers who do not use the AUS-MEAT and “budget” labels consistently or in accordance with the legislation.

AUS-MEAT has this week released a new Domestic Retail Beef Register designed to allow trade description information to be accurately converted to applicable descriptors for retail sale to consumers.

The register will work in conjunction with Torbay’s Bill to create a legislatively backed, consumer friendly truth in labelling system for beef products in NSW.

The Act will now be put to Primary Industries Ministerial Council and will provide a model for other states to implement equivalent legislation.

Friday, November 13, 2009


The Food Amendment (Beef Grading) Bill 2008 was passed without opposition by the NSW Legislative Assembly yesterday.

In a speech before Parliament, Torbay pointed out that "consumption of beef on the domestic market has be falling for a number of years and much of this decline is attributed to an unreliable labelling system".

"At present our beef exports are falling quite dramatically and there is a greater reliance on a buoyant domestic market", he said.

"Guiding these necessary reforms has been a painstaking process off negotiations. But if, as expected, it results in a better deal for consumers, producers and the industry, it will be a very worthwhile outcome", he said.

Torbay also expressed disquiet at RMAC tactics to reneg on an earlier agreement to back the legislation and lobby MPs to withdraw their support on the day the Bill was to be presented.

He suggested the about-face by RMAC demonstrates "a disappointing lack of leadership".

Related Links:

Food Amendment (Meat Grading) Bill 2008

Second Reading Speech in the Legislative Assembly (Parliament of NSW website).

Richard Torbay's full Press Release