Australia supports skilling up Vietnam’s beef processing

Vietnam is second only to Indonesia as an importer of live Australian beef cattle and has been the main growth market for this Australian export. However, Vietnam has not yet unleashed its full potential for traceability and value adding of the beef products, which limits profitability of the abattoir owners and reduces the quality of the end products for the consumers. Meanwhile, Australia has a rich history in the meat processing sector and is positioned as one of the world leaders in the production and processing of beef, particularly for food safety standards, traceability and meat quality.

The Australian Government, through the Aus4Skills Program, in conjunction with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Livecorp designed the Managing Abattoirs, Training and Exchange of Skills (MATES) and MATES Plus initiatives to help Vietnamese abattoirs treat live cattle in ways consistent with Australian standards and to bridge the gap between current traditional beef processing and modern beef processing to allow improved competitiveness with imported products and to provide a higher quality product to the Vietnamese consumers.

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The initial MATES project provided participating abattoirs with the knowledge and motivation to invest further into their business to provide a higher value beef product and built their capacity to process product in a hygienic manner.

Building upon the success of MATES, through a joint program between MLA and Livecorp called the Livestock Export Program (LEP) support has been provide to accelerate development of the Vietnamese market including placement of consultants into supply chains. This resulted in the MATES Plus project which was set the task of designing and implementing a quality assurance and quality control system for hygienic processing of chilled beef. A select number of Vietnamese Chilled Beef Processors were invited to participate in the project to implement in their plants.

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Response Consulting Australia was chosen to run the project based on their extensive experience in Australia working in the Beef Processing sector. The Response project team provided initial training to key staff at each participating company to ensure that staff had the base level knowledge to begin implementing QA and QC systems. The project team paired experienced Australian Consultants with staff from each plant appointed to be responsible for implementing QA & QC. The Australian consultants helped each plant to design work instructions for employees to process meat according to best practice hygiene standards and then monitor employees following the new processes.

Both participating Vietnamese companies have been able to implement the foundation component of a QA system including work instructions that cover Personal, Factory and Product hygiene. This has provided a significant level of confidence in each company’s ability to supply chilled beef to the market that is a consistent quality and safe for human consumption. In addition to this both QA teams are now able to manage and internally audit their systems to ensure a minimum standard is met. This process can now be implemented at other companies that wish to have a QA and QC system.

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