In Australia nearly half the farm gate value of ostriches is in the skins. However, 58% of skins being processed are being downgraded by at least one grade because of damage on farm, during transport, in the lairage and during processing and tanning. In the Emu Industry 95% of skins are being downgraded with 35% having no commercial value.
With the current revival in the export market for skins there was a need by Industry to develop Quality Assurance (QA) documentation for all the practices, which influence skin quality.
A Ratite Industry Committee comprising skin marketers, tanners, farmers, transporters, processors and researchers developed the documentation using a HACCP-based approach and have recommended an audit procedure for each segment of the Industry. A CD-ROM was developed to complement the documentation and to provide an introduction to the Industry of the key issues associated with maintaining good skin quality.