Coles beef to go hormone free

  • September 7, 2010
  • Nicole Eckersley

The Coles supermarket chain has confirmed that it will phase out beef from animals treated with hormone growth promotants, or HGPs.

The hormone implants are used by graziers and feedlots to boost cattle growth.

Meat general manager at Coles, Allister Watson, says untreated animals produce better meat.

He says 80 per cent of what he buys is already HGP-free and he pays more for it.

“We have a closed loop supply chain that we are currently paying more for to ensure that the cattle don’t have HGPs in,” he says.

“We are aware that it’s a cost that affects productivity in the farming sector and it also affects yields in the boning room.”

Coles to discontinue hormone-treated beef

Coles yesterday announced a plan to remove hormone-treated beef from its shelves by November, with the supermarket giant absorbing the extra cost of the meat.

Hormone growth promotant, or HGP, is used as an implant in cattle to improve the rate and food efficiency of weight gain in cattle. HGPs may include female hormones such as oestradiol and progesterone, or male hormones like testosterone and trenbolone acetate, or a combination of both.

The move will make Coles the first national food retailer to sell only HGP-free beef.

Coles general manager of meat, Allister Watson, said Coles had worked cooperatively with its beef suppliers over the last 18 months to build a dedicated hormone-free supply chain.

“Coles is working with our livestock suppliers to ensure our customers get the best quality fresh food possible,” Watson said.

“Coles is aware of widespread consumer concerns about additives in food and livestock and animal welfare practices.”

“A range of scientific studies have also confirmed that hormone growth promotants (HGPs) can adversely affect eating quality. The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system shows that meat quality is significantly better without the use of HGPs.”

Watson said a key outcome for Coles was that neither customers nor suppliers would be financially disadvantaged by the move to better quality meat.

“We’ve agreed with our suppliers that Coles will absorb any additional production costs that arise from moving to HGP-free beef and we’ll ensure that Coles on-shelf beef prices are not affected by this move,” he said.

The move comes hot on the heels of Coles’ decision to remove pork produced using sow stalls from its shelves last month.

Coles Finest HGP-free beef range is already available in selected Coles stores. Coles Butcher beef will be progressively converted to HGP-free in stores from January 2011.


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3 Responses to “Coles beef to go hormone free”

  1. Clare McLeod on November 11th, 2010 3:09 pm

    Congratulations Coles on the move to HGP free beef.
    One can only hope that others will follow this move and that soon HGP will be a thing of the past.
    I was born & raised on a cattle property and know for a fact that hormone free and free range grass fed beef is by far the best.
    Grain fed (feed-lot) & hormone treated beef no matter how fancily it is prepared and served tastes like rubber compared to naturally produced beef.
    My parents, grand-parents & great-grand-parents never used these methods to fatten cattle & still hold weight records for cattle sold as yearlings at our regional selling centre.
    Also where is the proof that grain fed & hormone treated beef is not detramental to human health…? … There seems to be a comparable rise in cancers since the introduction of these practices.
    I raise my Akubra to Coles and I will be buying my beef from you in 2011.

  2. alice kelly on April 25th, 2011 9:25 am

    i don’t give a rats about hormones used as additives, why don’t coles ensure the removal of meat in their outlets, which are routinely and continually fed antibiotics to animals grown by farmers.

  3. James Te Whau on June 29th, 2011 6:55 pm

    I must say, this is fantastic news. I have always shopped for hormone free meat and, at times, found it to be an arduous endeavour. I have also noticed Woolworths have jumped onto the organic meat wagon (is that the same?) for some of the meat products sold there. Is it true that the antibiotics given to cattle are used to treat some of the side effects caused by the HGP slow release implant?, Does this mean the HGP free meat will no longer experience those side effects therefore no longer require anti-biotics? And what about the dairy products, are they produced using HGP free ingredients?. Furthermore, I also believe that this type of practice (grow bigger, faster with more yield) is used on vegetation (apples, oranges, greens etc,), is this true,what growing pratices do Coles Group follow?, what type/s of chemicals are used (if any)?, what kind of effects would they have after consumption? and will coles make the move to Organic growing practices if not already?. Food for thought.
    Anyway, if the Coles group are truly doing what they say they are doing, and this change will truly have no impact on the animal, the suppliers and the consumers alike (enviromental, financial, health) then I am all for it, and I am glad to see a large company such as Coles making this move, hopefully this will set a standard for the supermarkets and butcheries to follow. Congratulations