Venison processing companies are proposing a single standard for on-farm quality assurance to be incorporated in a new Red Meat Farm Quality Assurance Standard.
The new standard, which will be managed by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) and implemented by meat exporters, will have standards for all forms of livestock farming. These relate to things like the storage of agrichemicals and providing livestock with access to water.
It will also have standards that are specific to a species, like those applying to the docking of lambs’ tails or to Cervena quality animals.
DINZ QA manager John Tacon says the standard has one clear purpose, ensuring that animals supplied for processing meet market requirements.
“It means everyone will know what is required of them, regardless of whom they supply. It will also be consistent across exporters who will be responsible for organising audits.
“It will not attempt to reinvent the wheel. On environmental matters, for example, farmers will be expected to be proactive with environmental management and to comply with regional and central government legal requirements.”
While the DeerQA standards will be incorporated into the RMPP manual, the deer industry will still retain its own stand-alone on-farm DeerQA programme for use on deer-specific properties where required. It will also continue to operate the DeerQA transport programme as well as the one for venison processors using the Cervena appellation.
Tacon says QA for deer transport will always be important for animal welfare and product quality reasons – deer have special transport needs that are not required by other farm livestock. The plant audits are voluntary, but are an important part of the quality credentials which underpin Cervena.
The Red Meat Profit Partnership is the beef and lamb industry’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme. It has many parallels with the deer industry’s Passion2Profit programme, which is also a PGP joint venture with the Ministry for Primary Industries.