Why our market access depends on integrity systems

Why our market access depends on integrity systems

11 April 2023
-Min Read
Australia’s place in the global red meat market is a testament to our systems for traceability, on-farm assurance and biosecurity.


While many nations, such as the United States, produce their livestock for their domestic market, Australia exports approximately 70% of its total red meat products across the world. With global competition growing within the industry, Australia’s traceability, on-farm assurance and biosecurity regulations must be of the highest standard to retain our place as a market leader.

Market access relies on our systems for traceability, on-farm assurance and biosecurity. Without these systems, our industry would face reductions in global sales, lower expectations of quality, and ultimately lost profits for our hard-working producers. Having these systems in place means our export markets can expand to even greater distances, and Australia can stand by what it sells.

Australia’s global market

Australia’s global exports cover a considerable portion of the globe, with our largest markets including:

  • Japan
  • Korea
  • China
  • United States of America
  • Indonesia.

In 2021, the total shipped weight included:

  • 887,682 tonnes of beef
  • 405,000 tonnes of sheepmeat
  • 19,000 tonnes of goatmeat.

Many of Australia’s trading partners require assurance that our products align with their food safety and animal welfare laws. With this in mind, producers can receive a greater return on investment by understanding their export markets and meeting these additional requirements. One of the most prominent of these is HGP-free red meat products within the European Union, the United Kingdom and China – where HGP use in livestock production is prohibited. Sound production practices and animal welfare outcomes also positively impact eating quality, which could lead to greater premiums for Australia’s value chain members.

With so many countries relying on Australia for high quality red meat, our systems for safety and integrity cannot falter. Thanks to our programs – including LPA and NLIS – we can provide this assurance to our trading partners.

No place for livestock disease

Australia is currently free from many critical livestock diseases, including foot and mouth disease (FMD), lumpy skin disease (LSD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). However, Integrity Systems Company encourages producers to review and update their farm biosecurity plan, and use the tools and resources available to ensure they’re prepared. This includes:

  • completing a documented Farm Biosecurity Plan for each Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • ensuring all livestock movements onto the PIC have a known health status through a Livestock Health Statement/Declaration or equivalent
  • inspecting all introduced livestock for signs of ill health or disease on arrival and keep them in isolation for a period of time
  • keeping records of livestock movements, as well as vehicle and visitor movements where reasonable and practical
  • having local veterinarian or animal health officer contact details available and report any unusual disease, illness, or mortalities as soon as possible
  • staying up-to-date with animal health warnings and bulletins issued by your state or territory department of agriculture/primary industries and know the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases.

Australia’s red meat industry cannot risk the entrance of infectious diseases or invasive pests and weeds, especially within today’s global market. All members of the value chain, on and off property, have a responsibility to ensure diseases and other biosecurity risks are not spread to our livestock, so our products are safe for consumption.

Australia’s gold standard traceability

Australia’s gold standard for livestock identification and lifetime traceability comes in the form of our National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). This system is unlike any in the world and is currently being used as a template to assist other nations with their own industry compliance.

With this system, the entire value chain – from producers to buyers to saleyards to processors – knows exactly where your livestock have been, and what they have come in contact with, reflecting our industry’s commitment to biosecurity and food safety.

Three key elements enable lifetime traceability of our livestock:

  1. A Property Identification Code (PIC) that identifies all physical locations.
  2. All livestock are identified by an NLIS approved visual or electronic eartag/device.
  3. Livestock location data and movements are recorded in a central database.

Producers must ensure their tags, PICs and records within the NLIS database are up-to-date and accurate, in order to properly maintain lifetime traceability for their stock. Without all three of these elements working in tandem, Australia’s traceability systems would be unreliable and incomplete.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the NLIS works.

Assuring food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare on-farm

To underpin market access and protect the disease-free status of Australian red meat, producers can join the voluntary Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program – committing to on-farm practices that feed into and support integrity, with seven requirements making up the program:

  • property risk assessments
  • safe and responsible animal treatments
  • stock foods, fodder crops, grain and pasture treatments
  • preparation for dispatch of livestock
  • livestock transactions and movements
  • biosecurity
  • animal welfare.

National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) are the primary channel for communicating the food safety and treatment status of every animal whenever it is moved. NVDs are legal documents that are key to Australian red meat traceability and market access, and act as movement documentation throughout the value chain.

Watch the video below to learn more about the LPA program.

You must be LPA accredited to access LPA NVDs. When you tick the boxes and sign your LPA NVD, you are declaring your on-farm practices meet LPA requirements, and ultimately customer expectations.

The digital formats of NVDs – the eNVD web-based system and mobile app – are available for LPA accredited producers, feedlots and value chain stakeholders to use. Digital consignments are fast, easy and more accurate than paper forms, delivering savings on time, money and efficiency.