Meat & Livestock Australia’s Objective Measurement Program has partnered with a number of technology providers to aid in the development, commercialisation and AUSMeat accreditation of a number of technologies to measure beef and lamb carcase quality traits.
In November, the MEQ Probe (pictured below) was accredited for measuring intramuscular fat (IMF%) in lamb.
This was a world-first development in eating quality for the Australian lamb industry, with IMF% a key eating quality trait measurement required for the soon to be commercialised sheepmeat MSA cuts-based model.
Alongside this, Meat Standards Australia’s graders have been supporting the training and accreditation of the beef devices, which are the standard for beef carcase assessment. These include technologies to measure beef traits such as AUSMeat and MSA marbling, meat and fat colour and eye muscle area.
At present, there are 25 processing facilities across Australia that 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 colour and fat colour)
- Frontmatec Q-FOM Beef Camera (pictured above, for AUSMeat and MSA marbling, fat colour and eye muscle area)
- Masterbeef android phone App and Camera Device (for MSA marbling)
- Meat Industry Japan MIJ-30 (for AUSMeat marbling)
- MEQ Probe Auroch v1.0 (for MSA marbling)
- MEQ Probe (Sheepmeat) (for IMF%)
Additional technologies are at varying stages of development and include a number of phone-based grading devices for beef, as well as further technologies to measure IMF% in lamb. These devices use a range of methods including near-infrared, microwave (including fat measures), nuclear magnetic resonance, optical coherence tomography and DEXA.
Once these technologies are commercialised and approved for use, further value will be created for the supply chain through greater efficiencies and grading consistency as well as extended measures of existing and new traits.
AUSMeat accredited processors seeking to use the equipment must apply to AUSMeat for site-specific approval prior to commencement of the technology being used commercially. Applications are subject to a desk audit and may also be subject to a site audit to confirm the establishment has appropriate Quality Management Systems controls in place.