The beef industry is in an era of increasing consumer demand for clarity on provenance, traceability and labelling. All sectors of the Wagyu supply chain rely on the integrity of animal and product descriptions to accurately determine the level of Wagyu content being marketed.
The Australian Wagyu Association is the peak body for the Australian Wagyu industry and has provided strong industry leadership in developing Wagyu Breed Trade Descriptors to help educate consumers, retailers, wholesalers, processors and producers to understand Wagyu beef.
These have been endorsed by the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee of AusMeat and are recommended for use by all members to assist in the verification of Animal Raising Claims regarding the Wagyu breed and level of breed content in meat.
An industry with more than 30 years history, Wagyu in Australia is derived from Japanese genetics to produce fullblood cattle (100% wagyu) through to F1 crossbred wagyu (a Wagyu fullblood animal crossed with another breed).
Australian fullblood Wagyu are 100% direct descendants of Japanese Black livestock. DNA parent verification has confirmed this direct lineage for all animals registered in the Australian Wagyu Association Herdbook.
Purebred, F3, F2 and F1 are crossbred Wagyu defined under the Wagyu Breed Trade Descriptions as:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) advised the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) in November 2014 that it intended to conduct an inquiry regarding representations of Wagyu beef produced and marketed in Australia.
The ACCC is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACL is a single national law which aims to protect consumers and ensure fair trading in Australia. Specifically, the ACL requires businesses to ensure any statements they make about their products are accurate and do not mislead or deceive consumers.
False or misleading claims can adversely affect consumers, who are often willing to pay a premium for products that are claimed to have a premium or special characteristic. This type of claim can also harm competitors who often incur additional production costs in order to be able to legitimately make a premium claim.
The result of the inquiry showed that there was no contravention of Australian Consumer Law (Sections 18, 29(1)(a) and 33) within the Australian Wagyu industry. The Association will continue to support the truth in labelling and product integrity principles that underpin the ACL by encouraging the use of Trade Descriptors by AWA members. The use of the Trade Descriptors is not mandatory but encouraged by the AWA of its members.
To support Wagyu breeders and processors, the Australian Wagyu Association has developed the Wagyu Breed Verification Program, endorsed by the AusMeat Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee to give guidance on labelling of Wagyu content to uphold our market integrity.
Download a copy of the Wagyu Breed Verification Program (PDF)