24-hour abattoir operations and cattle market held at night are among the proposals put forward during a meeting of Meat Standards Australia in Melbourne last week.

The meeting was called to focus on the implementation of the national quality assurance and meat grading system within the Victorian beef industry.

The main concern at the meeting surrounded the difficulty many meat producers faced in trying to ensure that animals are slaughtered within 36 hours of leaving the paddock. Frank White, executive officer of the Livestock Saleyards Association, commented: "The 36 hours are realistic if the saleyard is close to the processing plant, but this is not always the case."

In a bid to solve this problem and ensure that producers can adhere to the standards of the national quality assurance, manager of the assurance Graeme Hand suggested that abattoirs should operate throughout the night to fit in with the 36-hour timeframe.