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Animal Frontiers Abstract - International Perspectives

What is meat in Australia?


This article in

  1. Vol. 7 No. 4, p. 48-52
    Published: September 21, 2017

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R.D. Warner *a,
  2. E.P. Bittnera and
  3. H. Ashmana
  1. a School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Melbourne University, Parkville, Vic, 3010, Australia


  • In 2014, Australia was the highest consumer of "meat" (defined as beef, pork, chicken, and lamb) in the world, consuming 90.21 kg of meat per capita per year.

  • The definition of “meat” in Australia is diverse and varies widely among consumers, health professionals, and regulators.

  • =To the consumer, flesh/tissue from all living animals is considered meat, and the “most meaty” to “least meaty” was beef/sheepmeat/pork > chicken > hamburger/salmon/trout > crayfish > heart > kidney/liver/pig trotter > tripe/cultured meat > witchetty grub/grasshopper/brains. Burgers made from vegetable protein were considered “not meat.”

  • From the point of view of the health professional, only red meat (muscle from beef, sheep, goat, buffalo, kangaroo, camel, deer, pig or rabbit carcasses) is considered “meat,” and poultry, fish, and offal (internal organs of the carcass such as brain, heart, kidney, liver, pancreas, spleen, thymus, and tripe) are considered “not meat.”

  • To the regulator, fish is not described as meat whereas all poultry and red meat is considered “meat.” Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) code classifies offal as non-meat, whereas the FSANZ Primary Production Processing Standards consider offal as meat.

  • It may be prudent for Australian regulators to consider standardizing their descriptions of meat.

  • Health professionals appear to use different definitions for “meat” compared with both consumers and regulators. This is likely because they consider any food from a nutritional point of view.

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