New way to de­fine lamb

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Lucy Knight [email protected]­ral­weekly.com

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to amend the def­i­ni­tion of lamb in Aus­tralia’s ex­port leg­is­la­tion, en­abling sheep un­der 12 months of age, or which do not have any per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth in wear, to now be clas­si­fied as lamb.

The change will en­able young sheep to con­tinue to be called lamb when they have one or two per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth, so long as those teeth are new and have not be­gun to wear.

The an­nounce­ment by Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, David Lit­tleproud, brings sheep­meat clas­si­fi­ca­tions for Aus­tralian lamb pro­duc­ers into line with ma­jor ex­port com­peti­tor, New Zealand.

Sheep in­dus­try lead­ers have cam­paigned for the change for close to 20 years and say com­mon sense has pre­vailed, en­abling farm­ers the op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish and sup­ply lambs with more cer­tainty.

Un­til now, Aus­tralian lamb has fallen into the less lu­cra­tive hogget, year­ling or mut­ton clas­si­fi­ca­tion as soon as in­cisor teeth were vis­i­ble, whereas in New Zealand, lamb is still con­sid­ered lamb after one or two teeth, not in wear, had popped through.

The move will also be con­sis­tent with new AUS-MEAT def­i­ni­tions.

Mr Lit­tleproud said the change was “a sim­ple com­mon-sense change” re­mov­ing the un­fair ad­van­tage he be­lieves NZ pro­duc­ers have over our farm­ers.

“This will mean our grow­ers can sell more lambs to­wards the end of the grow­ing sea­son and ex­pand their lamb ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“Lamb will con­tinue to be called lamb when they have two per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth, so long as those teeth are new and have not be­gun to wear.

“The change will re­quire amend­ment to the Ex­port Con­trol (Meat and Meat Prod­ucts) Or­ders 2005, to change the def­i­ni­tion.”

Re­search by Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia found no dis­cernible dif­fer­ence in eat­ing qual­ity be­tween lambs im­me­di­ately prior to in­cisor teeth and im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards.

PHOTO: FILE

DEF­I­NI­TION CHANGES: Young sheep un­der 12 months of age, or which do not have any per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth in wear, can now be clas­si­fied as lamb.

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