Food Safety

Monitoring residues to maintain market access

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) works closely with the National Residue Survey (NRS) to deliver meat residue monitoring programs to underpin international market access and to support industry quality assurance programs.

The NRS is part of an Australian Government and industry strategy to minimise chemical residues and environmental contaminants in Australian food products. In doing so, NRS program help confirm Australia’s status as a producer of ‘clean’ food and facilitating access to key domestic and export markets.

Monitoring programs are designed in consultation with SCA and are based on production levels and international requirements. Testing undertaken in these programs includes a wide range of veterinary drugs, animal treatments, agricultural chemicals and environmental contaminants. Over the past decade these programs have reported a consistent compliance rate of more than 99.5%. Lastly, as part of verifying on-farm practices up to 1,000 producer property audits are undertaken annually. Properties are selected for audit based on three categories: random, NVD purchase history and residue detections.

In 2013-14 over 5,500 sheep product samples were collected from export and domestic establishments Australia wide. Samples are collected by departmental veterinary officers at export establishments and by quality control officers at domestic establishments. Where a residue is found above the relevant Australian Standard, a traceback investigation is undertaken by the State Authority to identify the cause and to provide advice to the producer to prevent recurrence.

One of the main objectives for SCA and the NRS in 2014-15 will be setting up a new Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) database for our domestic and export markets to ensure the Australian sheepmeat industry continues to meet market access requirements.

SCA works closely with industry and government to further improve Australia’s world class food safety and integrity systems, which are essential to the prosperity and growth of the sheepmeat industry.

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National Residue Survey


This partnership ensures that Australian red meat and livestock products achieve the highest standards of safety and hygiene from the farm to the consumer.

SAFEMEAT initiates research and development, develops communication linkages, monitors the status of Australia’s products, reviews standards and examines emerging issues that could have an impact on the industry in the future.

SAFEMEAT encourages rationalization of regulation and standards within the industry, drives the direction of strategies that ensure meat safety standards and hygiene and monitors industry performance in respect of these.

SCA is a member of the SAFEMEAT Partners and SAFEMEAT Executive Committees.

Key issues addressed by SAFEMEAT in 2013-2014 included; hormone growth promotant use; National Vendor Declarations; emergency animal disease management; and residue testing.

SCA President Ian McColl represents sheepmeat producers on the SAFEMEAT Partners Committee.

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