Potential benefits of introducing a meat grading system have been shared with members of the UK beef and sheep industry by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) at a recent seminar hosted by AHDB Beef & Lamb.
As part of the collaboration with AHDB Beef & Lamb, MLA representatives shared the findings from their work in establishing the Meat Standards Australia Programme – a programme developed to improve the eating quality of meat.
The MSA programme is based on over 100,000 consumer taste tests and almost 700,000 samples, offering a huge database of information. Taste tests have been carried out in nine countries, including Ireland, France, Japan, The United States, South Africa and Poland, making it the largest consumer product-testing programme in the world.
For carcases produced as part of the programme, different aspects of meat eating quality are assessed and graded by muscle, giving consumers an indication of which cooking methods will offer the best eating quality for each cut. This information is also fed back to the producer, which encourages continued improvement.
Siobhan Slayven, AHDB Beef & Lamb supply chain development manager, who saw the MSA grading first hand, said: “There is real potential to utilise aspects of the MSA programme in the UK. Assessing meat eating quality at this level is a big asset to producers as well as consumers, helping to reduce inconsistencies with meat and highlight areas which can be improved to enhance UK meat eating quality.”
The meeting was part of a visit to England by MLA representatives, who also had the opportunity to learn more about the English beef supply chain, visiting beef farms, processing plants and retailers.
Continuing the collaboration, MLA and AHDB are now carrying out a project assessing the meat eating quality in accordance with the MSA programme. The aim of the project is to find out whether any learnings from the programme could benefit the quality of meat in the UK.
To view the presentation delivered by Sarah Strachan, MSA program manager & Janine Lau, MSA research & development manager, visit http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/MSA-presentation.pdf