The AMA Quality Seal for meat and meat products

The red-white-red AMA Quality Seal has been appearing on meat since 1995. Animals for these foods are born, fed and slaughtered exclusively in Austria. The AMA Quality Seal programme is a comprehensive quality assurance programme which includes all production stages. At every stage, from feed to agricultural producers, slaughterhouses and cutting plants to processing plants, quality parameters are defined in addition to origins.

Around 7,400 cattle farmers, 1,850 pig farmers and 470 broiler chicken and turkey farmers take part in the AMA Quality Seal programme.

The AMA guidelines contain detailed rules on feeding. Feedstuffs need to be certified with pastus+. Feedstuffs of animal origin or leftovers are not allowed to be fed to ruminants, for example. Medicines may only be used if a vet has prescribed them and they may not be used preventatively. Moreover, after antibiotics have been administered, double the legally prescribed waiting time applies for the AMA Quality Seal, before the animals can be sold.

The slaughterhouse too must observe the criteria of the AMA Quality Seal, particularly in terms of hygiene. And of course, the product itself is subject to a barrage of tests (e.g. pH value, maturation time, etc.) in addition to all the tests which concern the animal. This way it is possible to reliably exclude faults in the meat.

In the cutting plant, AMA Quality Seal meat is kept and processed strictly separately from other meat. The separation needs to be completely documented to enable the inspection. The retail trade is also monitored, for things such as adherence to the cooling chain, the prescribed temperature in the refrigeration systems and the correct labelling.

The quality criteria of the Austrian Foodstuffs Code (Codex) form the basis for meat products such as sausage and ham. The AMA guidelines define other quality criteria which extend beyond these requirements. For example, AMA Quality Seal meat products may not contain any flour, starch or similar technological fillers such as locust bean gum, carrageenan or guar gum.