Lamb Definition Public Consultation

Consultation is now closed. Thank you for your input.


The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) is consulting with producers and supply chain stakeholders to determine whether the current definition of lamb requires changing. SCA has released the SCA Lamb Definition Consultation Paper 2017 for more information.

The lamb definition is currently:
Meat derived from a female, castrated male, or entire male ovine animal that shows no evidence of eruption of permanent incisor teeth.

The proposed change of the lamb definition will:
Allow the eruption of permanent incisors, but without either incisor being in wear.

The introduction of meat and livestock specification language that is ‘fit for purpose’, allows for supply chain alignment that generates price signals from consumers back to producers. Alignment will facilitate producers being paid for the attributes that consumers most value at the dinner table – effectively bridging the divide that currently exists between livestock and meat markets. By bridging this divide and producing what consumers value, industry will grow the price premium Australian sheep producers receive for the quality, safety and integrity of their products.

Lamb is currently defined as a female, castrated male or entire male ovine that shows no evidence of eruption of permanent incisor teeth. Under this definition, as soon as an animal has lost a milk tooth it is reclassified to the mutton category. Consequently, the re-categorisation encounters a substantial price discount commonly known as the ‘price cliff face’. At the request of lamb producer groups, SCA commissioned agricultural consultancy organisation, Holmes Sackett, to assess the implications of enhancing the definition so that producers could better manager the ‘price cliff face’.

It isn’t by coincidence the Australian lamb and sheepmeat industry has grown from strength to strength to be the professional and standalone industry it is today. It has taken commitment and passion from all producers to ensure industry’s continued growth, but first and foremost, it has been industry’s united approach that has delivered our greatest successes. It is for this reason SCA welcomes all supply chain stakeholders to have their say on whether industry should move to adopt a definition that allows the eruption of permanent incisors, but without either incisor being in wear or maintain the current definition of lamb.

Input can be provided by completing a short online survey, or alternatively detailed submissions can be made via email to Holmes Sackett at [email protected].

Your feedback will be incorporated by Holmes Sackett into the final report that will be considered by the new Sheep Producer Australia Board in February 2018.

The timeframe:



Further information:

Further information is available in the following background documents.

For more information please contact: Reith Parker, Industry Development and Marketing Officer [email protected] or 0438 028 391

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