Counterfeit Beef in China
Australian beef exporters are battling against a growing counterfeit beef market in China. Top Australian beef farmer, David Blackmore, offered that the meat being passed off as Australian beef “could be anything from buffalo out of India to meat from anywhere else.”
He explained that beef exported from Australia is sealed in a cryovac bag with a stamp on it which identifies the abattoir it came from. Blackmore Wagyu also puts an insert inside the bag before it’s sealed, which is printed on special plastic and uses an easily identifiable dye.
“What we’ve found is that in China they’ve copied the cryovac bag, they’ve copied the insert, and they put someone else’s beef inside that cryovac bag,” he said. Mr Blackmore became aware of the problem after receiving a call from a chef at a five star hotel in China, complaining about the quality of the meat.
He said that fighting counterfeit produce is relatively easy for Blackmore Wagyu because it’s such a small producer. “We do 60 to 70 carcasses a month…so it’s fairly easy for us to stop it. We appointed a new distributor in China, and then our son, who is the CEO of the company, went over to China and spoke to our customers.”
But solving the problem will be much more difficult for larger beef producers, which produce up to 8000 or 9000 carcasses per day as also for Chinese consumers to catch the evidence, that the beef is originally exported from Australia. Prices for exported beef from Australia are almost 50% higher as for beef which comes from local farmers.