I love steak, particularly T-bone, preferably grass fed, not the mushy tasteless grain fed variety currently featuring on the shelves at Coles. But as a consumer and a producer I’m in the hands of the ‘Big 5’, the giants who control the red meat processing industry, Woolworths, Coles, JBS Australia, Teys/Cargill and Nippon.

You’d think that there would be some better standards in place when it comes to the consumer buying meat at the supermarket but in fact we have no independent meat graders. John Carter wrote in The Land last week that very few beef retail brands have consistent measures when it comes to quality control. You only have to purchase steak on a regular basis to know he’s right. Hoping for tenderness and flavour on a regular basis is a bit like pot-luck.


meatOh for the days when we use to butcher our own on-farm during winter. Kill the beast, hang the animal in a tree overnight and then quarter the carcass with a chainsaw the next day. The quarters were then hung in the cool-room before being cut-down in the station meat-house a few days later after the meat had set. We still eat our own beef occasionally but the last time we killed one of our animals it was trucked into town and placed in the hands of a butcher.

The Beef industry has been under scrutiny for a good twelve months. Accusations of collusion in the industry, specifically among livestock agents is yet to be proven and I’d imagine would be quite difficult to prove although there have been whispers of such goings-on in the past. The Senate inquiry into competition in the beef industry has made some interim recommendations which includes a national price disclosure system and greater monitoring of livestock agents but regardless of the inquiry’s results, something still has to be done about consistency of taste and tenderness. Consumers have the right to know exactly what they’re buying. Don’t you agree?