New technologies continue to emerge to measure carcass quality traits

Frontmatec Q-FOM Bullet Camera

Meat & Livestock Australia’s Objective Measurement Program has partnered with a number of technology providers to assist in the development, commercialization and AusMeat accreditation of a number of technologies for measuring the quality characteristics of beef and lamb carcasses.

In November, the MEQ probe (pictured below) was accredited to measure intramuscular fat (IMF%) in lamb.

This was a world first in taste quality for the Australian lamb industry, with IMF% a key measure of the taste quality characteristics required for the model based on MSA cuts of sheep meat that will be soon to be marketed.

Alongside this, Meat Standards Australia Graders have supported the training and accreditation of Beef Devices, which is the standard for beef carcass assessment. These include technologies to measure beef characteristics such as AusMeat and MSA marbling, meat and fat color, and eye muscle area.

Currently, 25 treatment facilities across Australia are testing and using objective measurement technologies in partnership with MLA to drive adoption.

OM technologies already conditionally approved for use include:

  • E+V Cold Carcase Beef Grading Camera (approved for AusMeat and MSA marbling, meat color and fat color)
  • Frontmatec Q-FOM Beef camera (pictured above, for AusMeat and MSA marbling, fat color and eye muscle area)
  • Masterbeef Android phone app and camera (for MSA marbling)
  • Meat Industry Japan MIJ-30 (for AusMeat marbling)
  • MEQ Probe Auroch v1.0 (for MSA marbling)
  • MEQ probe (sheep meat) (for IMF%)

Other technologies are in various stages of development and include a number of telephone grading devices for beef, as well as other technologies for measuring the percentage of IMFs in lamb. These devices use a range of methods including near infrared, microwaves (including fat measurements), nuclear magnetic resonance, optical coherence tomography and DEXA.

Once these technologies are commercialized and approved for use, additional value will be created for the supply chain through greater efficiency and ranking consistency as well as expanded measurements of existing and new traits.

AusMeat-accredited processors wishing to use the equipment must apply to AusMeat for site-specific approval prior to commencing commercial use of the technology. Claims are subject to on-site verification and may also be subject to on-site verification to confirm that the facility has appropriate quality management system controls in place.

Source: MLA

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