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Infrared Technology Eyes Real Tenderness

28 January 2009

SCOTLAND, UK - Cutting edge technology that can accurately and rapidly measure the tenderness of meat has been demonstrated in Scotland for the first time.

Last week, delegates at Quality Meat Scotland’s annual Research & Development conference in Perth saw samples of beef and lamb tested for sensory characteristics using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR). This follows a series of pilot trials of the tool on Scotch Beef over the past year.

QMS is now considering whether it has the potential to be used as part of a major project to further improve demand for beef and lamb in Scotland by using the technology to offer consumers on pack guarantees of tenderness.

QMS Chairman Donald Biggar said: “The prize for the industry if this technology was to be introduced is already visible in today’s marketplace, with sirloin steaks marketed with simple ageing claims selling for 65% more per kilogram than value range in some supermarkets.

“Using NIR in conjunction with other methods for assessing lean meat yield, fat coverage and conformation on the carcase could revolutionise the information available to farmers and processors at the time of slaughter, even opening the way to payment directly on carcase and meat quality.”

Whilst further validation work is required to take the equipment from the laboratory to work day in day out in Scottish abattoirs, NIR is already proving to be an invaluable research tool that is being used to test the impact of different production systems, such as feeding regimes or changing genetics, on eating quality.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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