There are plenty of benefits in choosing organic meat, not only for your own health but for the environment and animal welfare as well. The products are all free from genetic modification, hormone growth promotants, antibiotics and other synthetic chemicals, plus they taste exquisite to boot.
However, do you know how to distinguish organic and high quality meat from non-organic meat? Several different labelling methods are used, and they all correlate to different governing bodies and standards.
Understanding the regulations behind these labels can help you be a more informed consumer of organic meat. Here are a just a few you might come across in Australia.
Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACO)
If you see a pack of organic meat with this label, that means it has been certified organic by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). This means the product has met the requirements of the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce.
This export standard was developed by the department in conjunction with retailers, manufacturers, consumer groups, government agencies and certifiers. It is reviewed every three years to ensure that it is still up to date with modern practices, research and expectations.
Some meat will be labelled with a halal accreditation. This means it has been prepared a certain way, in keeping with Muslim guidelines. Australia is one of the leading producers of halal meat in the world, and there are strict programs in place to ensure every product with this label is authentic.
The main certifying bodies that handle this standard in Australia include Australian Halal Food Services, Global Halal Food Services and the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia.
MSA Grading System
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) operates a special program that grades the tenderness of red meat, called the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Grading System.
This is the only consumer-focused system for red meat that grades its eating quality, using standards of tenderness, juiciness and flavour.