News

GFF now part of NFAS audits

21 November 2018

Auditing of lot feeding operations under the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) now covers the industry’s newest certified product, Grain Fed Finished (GFF) beef, at roughly 30 GFF-ready sites.

As a natural complement to Grain Fed (GF) and Grain Fed Young (GFYG) beef, the two components of lot feeding’s established premium longfed range, GFF requires that cattle spend at least 35 days on feed (of which 28 or more must be on a predominantly grain-based diet) and satisfy the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program’s grading requirements.

The Australian red meat industry body AUS-MEAT provides independent, third-party auditing services to the NFAS. AUS-MEAT’s role includes ensuring systems are in place and being followed to support adherence to the 35-day minimum feed regime, alongside all original animal welfare, environmental stewardship and food safety features of the scheme.

The NFAS was founded in 1995 as the quality management system that underpins the integrity of Australian grain-fed beef as a safe and responsibly-farmed beef offering.

Every year, all 400-plus NFAS-accredited feedlots are audited.

AUS-MEAT has been a key player in the new GFF Standard’s rollout.

GFF was launched on 1 September this year and by the third week of October AUS-MEAT CEO Ian King said “an encouraging number of lot feeders” had placed orders for the updated version of the paperwork which would in time allow them to consign GFF-eligible cattle.

“AUS-MEAT is not aware whether any animals have been processed as GFF at this stage. However, we have supplied revised NFAS delivery documentation, as the essential declaration, to approximately 30 feedlots to date,” Mr King said in late October.

That figure represents just under eight per cent of the scheme’s total members.

“Rations must have an average metabolisable energy content greater than 10 megajoules per kilogram of dry matter,” Mr King said.

“The driver for the standard’s development – as with all industry standards – was industry itself. While the idea was not new, the development of an additional shortfed standard was formally proposed as part of the NFAS review in 2014–15.

“It was part of the review recommendations and was adopted into the AUS-MEAT Minimum Standards for Grain Fed Beef by the Australian Meat Industry Language & Standards Committee (AMILSC) this year.”

AUS-MEAT itself was not involved in the development of the standard to the point of adoption by the AMILSC.

Once industry had agreed through the committee to introduce GFF, however, AUS-MEAT’s role was associated with updating the NFAS Standards and associated delivery documentation and advising participants of the changes.

“In addition, AUS-MEAT has the responsibility of ensuring audit documentation and auditors are kept abreast of the changes,” he said.

“From an accredited establishment perspective, each site was already required to have systems in place within their documented quality systems with respect to identification, traceability and ensuring that raising claims are supported on product labels.

In this regard this additional GFF cipher [or category] is already addressed by existing processes.

“Details of the new GFF Standard were communicated to all accredited feedlots via an Advice Notice at the time of its adoption into the AUS-MEAT language.”

Mr King said NFAS feedlot audits carried out by AUS-MEAT since the introduction of the standard had not identified any instances of non-compliance related to GFF.

He said this was as expected, given the maturity of the NFAS and the fact the GFF Standard was simply a variation of existing longstanding requirements.

For more information about the GFF Standard or how to implement it, contact ALFA on (02) 9290 3700 or info@feedlots.com.au

A detailed fact sheet is also available on the ALFA website here.