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The observed data is often utilised to create quality and yield grades applied at carcase level. None of these measures provide effective or simple description of a meal which is the critical consumer need. The Australian Meat Standards Australia MSA system has further developed the use of carcase based inputs to create individual muscle eating quality estimates utilizing untrained consumer evaluation as the primary measure. A change toward consumer based quality description of individual meal portions is seen by many as a fundamental driver of industry change. Further background reading is provided in the Australian Industry White Paper www.

What technical developments may facilitate objective estimates?

Technological Developments. The AMPC strategic plan acknowledges that the Australian industry operates under higher cost structures than competitors due to labor rates and regulatory imposts. To be internationally competitive it must aggressively innovate to justify higher pricing through superior product, and to must be implemented in concert with sound Meat Science imperatives to ensure product integrity is maintained.

How should Meat Science, Engineering and Software disciplines be coordinated to encourage integration and facilitate practical commercial application?

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Critical control points for meat quality in the Australian sheep meat supply chain

Current areas of technological development initiatives are briefly discussed below. Traditional yield descriptors such as butt shape, external fat point measures, sex and dentition have known serious limitations. Individual cut identification and actual weight also offers a solution but requires technology that can operate at sufficient throughput. Application of technology offers scope for substantial improvement with CT scanning regarded as the gold standard. DEXA has a current measure of acceptance in lamb processing and is at early evaluation stage for beef.

Vision systems have been adopted for yield measures in some countries with RGBD camera technologies also being evaluated in live animal and carcase applications.

Juárez, Manuel, MVSc, MBA, PhD

What other technologies are on the horizon? How can meat science support development and application? How do we integrate the engineers and software developers with Meat Science to optimize industry efficiency and consumer product value? Man Versus Machine. Evaluation systems are rapidly evolving with increased sophistication in many instances associated with greater affordability where broader technologies such as those used in smartphones can be adapted for industry use.

Further sophisticated technologies and robotics utilised in medicine, security, military and other areas may potentially be adapted for meat industry use. Camera and image analysis systems are currently in use for some traits such as marbling and rib fat depth and are promising greater potential as are a range of tools relying on spectra including NIR, Hyperspectral and Ramon.


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Are there smarter ways to interact with medical or other research developments? Processing developments to improve yield, shelf life and eating quality. Processing systems can significantly impact yield, shelf life and eating quality with stunning, bleeding, carcase suspension, chilling, packaging and ageing all being critical and often inter-related. Chilling regimes vary widely including the use of spray chilling and various combinations of temperature, time, air flow and velocity. Research recommendations have differed in defining chill time for example 10 hrs at 10 degrees followed by deep chilling or, at the other extreme very fast chilling and in defining a temperature and pH relationship irrespective of time.

Previous research work has speculated on systems that may hot bone and differentially chill primals with more recent but limited application of other technologies to stretch, shape or prevent muscle shortening. Which technologies have the most potential? What research gaps exist to fully understand the mechanisms? Significant innovation is anticipated in value adding red meat as transferring the raw commodity into refined consumer meals offers greater value to the industry.

Currently many value added processes are applied more extensively in pig and poultry processing and smallgoods but are rapidly expanding in red meat. Is the fundamental biology sufficiently understood to harness evolving processes? Can multiple levels of raw material quality be managed to produce a common outcome? Is there a balance between yield enhancement and consumer acceptance? What research is required to fully understand and interpret work to date? Supply Chain Integration and Collaboration. Improved supply chain integration is seen as an essential basis for industry sustainability and reduced price fluctuation.

In contrast to red meat sectors competing poultry and pig industries are characterized by vertical integration with commensurate communication, research and production linkage driving continuous improvement across production sectors. Direct consumer value signals being transferred throughout the supply chain is recognized as a prerequisite to increase productivity and driver of improved performance.

Value Assessment and Communication in Trading Systems. Accurate value based trading systems across the supply chain offer the potential to transform industry efficiency.

The Muscle Behind Meat Science (Updated)

When accurately measured highly significant differences arise from both yield and quality variation across the carcase, both of which are poorly measured, reported and priced under most current systems. While the industry trades on averages the value range in cattle and carcase groups is masked. Current advances and research effort are aimed at providing the ability to accurately reflect value at each transaction point and to provide a genuine reflection of final consumer value from retail counter or restaurant menu to the value adding, processing, finishing, back-grounding and breeding segments.

It can be argued that the continual long term productivity gains in industries such as dairy, pig and poultry reflect the accuracy of measurement and direct pricing linkage to products or components. What is needed from the meat science community to facilitate understanding of value drivers, accuracy and methodology of calculation and the cultural change that may be needed? Do meat scientists have a role in championing systemic change?

What are the research needs to assist the process? Genomics Application Throughout the Supply Chain. The AMPC strategic plan clearly identifies that farm suppliers must be profitable to ensure a sustainable industry. Overall industry profitability and stability is related to supply chain integration or collaboration. The processor role in providing accurate price signals and data to enable and encourage on farm adaption of genetic and management strategies for mutual benefit is acknowledged with funding encouraged for research that encompasses multiple supply chain sectors.

As the potential of any animal is set at conception, and reduced by subsequent actions, it is self-evident that genetics have an important interaction with meat science.

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Rapid and continuing advances in genomics have accelerated progress in the dairy industry across the globe, aided by pooling of genetic and production data through Interbull and collaborative analysis. The beef industry is yet to achieve the same rate of adoption but can clearly benefit greatly from similar application toward yield and quality.


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  4. Data to date however is concentrated on the longissimus muscle and principally on shear force or other laboratory measures. What research is required to maximise the genomics opportunity and speed up application and adoption? Are there better mechanisms to encourage greater interaction between meat scientists and geneticists?

    Live animal measures and management tools. Alternative breed, feed and management interactions have been studied for decades in relation to livestock performance and carcase based outcomes. What needs to be revisited in the light of new technologies and more recent research? What areas hold the greatest promise to encourage improved production of nutritious, delicious, affordable beef?

    Which technologies offer promise to accurately predict carcase composition or quality prior to kill? Can measures of temperament be used to reduce dark cutting by identifying individuals at risk and applying remediation on farm or in lairage? Dramatic change in communication technologies is also facilitating extensive data exchange with potential to integrate producer and processor data for mutual benefit both through brand values relying on individual animal history and in adopting breeding and management systems to reflect value based payment and veterinary feedback from the processor.

    How can complex megadata output from alternative technologies be interpreted for practical industry use? How do meat scientists interact in the development and utilization of these technologies? Fundamental Biology. Biological interactions critically impact the live animal and subsequent carcase biology is directly reflected in eating quality outcomes, muscle differences, ageing potential, cooking method interactions and consumer satisfaction.

    The live animal, carcase and consumer interactions need to be understood to mitigate and control the risk of benefits in one component relating to negative impacts in another. Pure Research Knowledge Development. The basic understanding of muscle biology is being continually expanded over time. Meat tenderness has long been studied but is there more to do? Flavour appears far less understood and more difficult to interpret than tenderness and may deserve more attention. The final eating experience clearly involves all facets and the combination of tenderness, juiciness and flavour with the development of each attribute both linked and resulting from myriad interactions and including connective tissue, protein components, enzymes and fat contributions in combination with pH and temperature conditions.

    Where is our basic science limiting?

    Dr. Gretchen Mafi

    View Larger Image. Ask Seller a Question. Title: Meat Science and Applications. Meat Science and Applications compiles the most recent science, technology, and applications of meat products, by-products, and meat processing. It details worker safety, waste management, slaughtering, carcass evaluation, meat safety, and animal handling issues from an international perspective. Essential concepts are illustrated with practical examples and helpful diagrams. Visit Seller's Storefront.

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