Information standards

Global information standards refer to numbering, bar coding and electronic messaging (eMessaging) standards for specific red meat supply chain activities.

Red meat industry guidelines have been developed by the Australian red meat industry from the global standards for trade and commerce. GS1 Australia manages these global standards.

There are three distinct components to information standards within the supply chain:

  • identification - standard numbering which can be applied to:
    • individual animals
    • cattle consignments
    • carcase
    • carton and pallet labels
    • meat consignments
  • data carriers - represent the identification numbers in machine readable format, for example:

    • bar codes
    • radio frequency identification devices - RFID
    • pallet labels
    • carton labels 
    • carcase tickets
  • eMessaging - standards to transmit the captured data between trading parties and electronic National Vendor Declaration and Waybill - e-DEC and electronic Meat Transfer Certificates - eMTCs

Information standards components


The use of global standards for numbering, bar coding and eMessaging offers benefits to all parties in the red meat industry supply chain, including:

For all trading partners:

  • ability to identify goods and shipments quickly and accurately
  • track forward and trace back of products
  • faster delivery of goods
  • fewer handling and shipping errors
  • better inventory management and reduced inventory holdings
  • reduction of order and replenishment times

For domestic processing:

  • ability to identify carcases, cartons, bulk packs, pallets and shipments quickly and accurately
  • compliance with customer (retail or export) requirements for bar coding
  • track forward and trace back from slaughter to retail shelf
  • integration with the National Livestock Identification Scheme
  • eMessaging ability for the National Vendor Declaration Waybill and Meat Transfer Certificates

For livestock production:

The Guide to information standards offers a high level overview of all the work to-date including links to access technical information on numbering and bar coding of carcase tickets, non-retail variable measure cartons and bulk non-retail red meat products and pallet labels. It also explains electronic messaging for cattle and sheep National Vendor Declaration and Waybills and for Meat Transfer Certificates.

A number of red meat industry supply chain information standards demonstration projects have been undertaken over several years. This cost benefit factsheet summarises information derived from these projects.