In light of the increasing consumer demand for safe, high-quality food and recent public health concerns about food-borne illness, governments and agricultural industries are under pressure to provide comprehensive food safety policies and programmes consistent with international best practice. Countries that export food commodities derived from livestock must meet both the requirements of the importing country and domestic standards. It is internationally accepted that end-product quality control, and similar methods aimed at ensuring food safety, cannot adequately ensure the safety of the final product. To achieve an acceptable level of food safety, governments and the agricultural industry must work collaboratively to provide quality assurance systems, based on sound risk management principles, throughout the food supply chain. Quality assurance systems on livestock farms, as in other parts of the food supply chain, should address food safety using hazard analysis critical control point principles. These systems should target areas including biosecurity, disease monitoring and reporting, feedstuff safety, the safe use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, the control of potential food-borne pathogens and traceability. They should also be supported by accredited training programmes, which award certification on completion, and auditing programmes to ensure that both local and internationally recognised guidelines and standards continue to be met. This paper discusses the development of policies for on-farm food safety measures and their practical implementation in the context of quality assurance programmes, using the Australian beef industry as a case study.