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.