Hormone-treated beef leaves Coles shelves

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 6th January 2011

Curtis Stone for ColesColes Supermarkets have switched their fresh beef offerings entirely to beef produced without the use of Hormone Growth Promotants, or HGPs, as of January 1st.

Hormone Growth Promotants are small implants containing various hormones, such as oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone and trenbolone acetate, which are implanted into a beef cow’s ear. These implants dissolve slowly to increase muscle growth, mature animal size and lean yield. They also tend to delay fat deposition. The use of HGPs is not permitted in the EU.

In addition to being HGP-free, all Coles fresh beef will be 100% Australian produced.

The changeover will be supported by a free 20-page ‘Guide to Meat’ booklet, featuring the company’s food ambassador, chef Curtis Stone. The guide will feature advice on how to select, prepare and cook the very best meat.

Stone said he strongly supported these initiatives.

“I’m passionate about where and how food is sourced. The way meat is treated directly affects the quality, taste and tenderness,” he said.

“Beef with no added hormones is shown to be more tender and Coles will be the first national food retailer to sell only no added hormone beef.”

“The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system shows that meat quality is significantly better without the use of HGPs,” said Stone.

The move follows the supermarket group’s decision late last year to stop selling pork produced using controversial sow stalls or farrowing crates, a move that may have contributed to the Australian Pork industry’s subsequent decision to phase out the stalls entirely.

Coles General Manager of meat, Allister Watson, said Coles worked cooperatively with its beef suppliers over the last 18 months to build a dedicated supply chain free of added hormones.

“We’ve worked closely with our livestock suppliers to ensure our customers get the best quality fresh food possible,” Watson said.

The company said the changeover has been years in the planning, at a cost reaching into the tens of millions of dollars.

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. This initiative is another example of Coles’ commitment to providing the best quality meat at affordable prices.

The changeover affects only fresh cuts of meat, and packaged and processed beef items may still contain HGP-treated beef.