Lamb Processing

Intramuscular lamb fat probe gets commercial approval

Sheep Central, November 17, 2021

A MEQ probe being used on the Gundagai Lamb chain.

AUSTRALIAN lamb processors and brands can benchmark product and ensure it meets customer needs following commercial accreditation of a probe that measures intramuscular fat.

The Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards (AMILS) committee approved the accreditation application for the MEQ Probe for the important eating quality trait today.

MEQ Probe said the AMILS approval made its probe the only hot measure technology in the world that has the ability to measure IMF in lamb that has been accredited by an official industry body.

The probe can be used in abattoirs on hot carcases at line speed, providing real-time information to meat processors on intramuscular fat. This data can be used across the supply chain to inform branding and alignment to customer specifications, and back to on-farm to producers, helping to inform decisions that drive further value in the lamb industry, Meat & Livestock Australia said.

The hand-held probe has three imaging needles that are inserted into the loin muscle at the 12-13th rib of hot carcases to do a spectral analysis to predict IMF.

MLA program manager for objective measurement, Richard Apps, said MLA had invested with industry partners in the research and development of the MEQ Probe because of its potential to be transformational for the red meat industry.

“The commercial reality of the MEQ Probe will ensure Australia maintains its status as a global leader in red meat innovation and production – no other country is using this technology.

“There is also a huge benefit for the lamb supply chain with the technology allowing instant feedback to producers, so they are able to ascertain the IMF within their flock and plan how to improve or maintain IMF by using tools such as Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) and more targeted nutrition,” Mr Apps said.

The AMILS accreditation of the probe follows AUS-MEAT approval of the lamb IMF trait’s language and standards using a probe in September and supports the commercialisation of the new Meat Standards Australia (MSA) sheep meat cuts-based model.

MLA said the model is based on over 10 years of research and will revolutionise the sheep meat industry by enabling producers, processors and brand owners to extract further value across the supply chain through eating quality segregation. The model uses three eating quality measures, including IMF, on each carcase, to predict the eating quality of nine cut by cooking method outcomes (grill and roast) for each carcase.

MEQ Probe chief executive officer Remo Carbone said as the world’s second-largest producer of lamb, it is fitting that Australia is leading the way in creating new standards for the eating quality of meat.

“A certifiable measurement such as those generated by MEQ Probe provides opportunities across the entire lamb supply chain, from producers to retailers – but most importantly it will give assurance to consumers about the quality of the lamb they eat.

“The accreditation of MEQ Probe as the first grading technology to accurately measure lamb’s eating quality is a major milestone not just for us, but for Australia’s entire agtech sector,” Mr Carbone said.

“We’re excited to be pioneering this vital technology that will help differentiate our meat sector on the global stage.

“We’re also hugely grateful for the support of our initial clients, and for the work of industry partners such as MLA, AMPC and of course AUS-MEAT in bringing these new standards to life.”

Source – MLA.

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