Cutting-edge Meat Quality Prediction in Scotland

SCOTLAND, UK - Plans for a project that will see Scotland leading the rest of the world in predicting the eating quality of cuts of meat were announced today.
calendar icon 25 June 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Meat processors in Scotland will be offered technology that for the first time will allow them to accurately measure the different factors, such as tenderness, colour and fat levels, that add up to overall quality, says the Scottish Government.

The project, run by Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish red meat industry development body, and part-funded by the Scottish Government, will initially focus on beef but the aim is to extend it to lamb and pork.

At the Royal Highland Show today Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "This unique project is good news for the red meat sector and even better news for consumers. We know the importance shoppers attach to quality and taste and that this, in turn, provides a boost for those responsible for Scotland's world-class produce.

"It is fitting that this research project is being launched at the Royal Highland Show, one of the best showcases for rural Scotland and our food and drink. It also comes on the eve of our announcement of the next steps in Scotland's first-ever National Food and Drink Policy, which will deliver further benefits throughout the food chain, from gate to plate."

QMS Chairman Donald Biggar said: "This is an extremely exciting initiative which puts Scotland at the very forefront of what is a global quest to offer guarantees to consumers about the eating quality of the beef they're buying.

"Our Scottish meat processors will be the first to have the technology to make a rapid assessment of the complex range of factors that together determine how well a piece of beef tastes. The data on the quality of individual carcases in meat plants can be fed back from the processor to the producer so that he or she can pinpoint the sort of farm level decisions that are delivering consistently high quality meat.

"Capturing this level of information and using it as a mechanism to further drive up the quality of beef produced across Scotland has the potential to revolutionise how we promote our Scotch Beef to consumers around the world."

Scotland's meat plants process around 8,500 prime beef carcases every week producing 2900 tonnes of meat each week. The turnover of the beef processing industry in Scotland is worth half a billion pounds annually.

Around 70 per cent of all Scotch Beef produced in Scotland is sold in England. The European export market, which suffered a setback following the 2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak, is now back on track with increasing volumes being delivered to key markets in France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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