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Smartening-up meat traceability

Published:04 May 2021

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, The Hon. David Littleproud MP (third from right) at Beef 2021 where he announced funding support for CQUniversity Agriculture research

CQUniversity has been awarded a $200,101 traceability grant to improve meat traceability through the existing National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the research will look at ways to improve meat traceability, animal welfare and meat quality.

“On-animal sensors or smart-tags is an emerging technology and we’re only just learning the full extent of how it can benefit the red meat industry,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This research looks at how smart-tags technology can be used in traceability, linking pre-farm gate management with the results obtained at processing.

“It involves a review of how smart-tags can be used to detect disease and management issues, and a case study to inform how this data can be employed for industry.

“While there is a commercial drawback to diseases, given that they ultimately result in carcass downgrades, any incentive to improve the health and welfare of our animals can only be a positive.

“What’s even better is that this technology doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

“We already use sophisticated ear tags in the form of the NLIS, so this research can be used to improve and expand a product that is already in use.

“We know that consumers in Australia and internationally want greater transparency and real time advice about the origin and safety of product in the modern digital marketplace.

“Whether it’s through developing block-chain technology to assist with food safety, an app to track kangaroo meat harvesting, or a DNA database to combat illegal logging, these round two projects will give Aussie exporters the competitive edge.”

CQUniversity Associate Professor Mark Trotter said CQU was grateful for the grant and thanked the Australian Government for its support to develop a sensor-based livestock traceability system.