Research looking at prospects to improve beef ageing process

Beef Central, 11/10/2017

BEFORE a steak hits your dinner plate it is aged to improve tenderness, but a new research project is examining whether the process can be done more efficiently.

Charles Sturt University Masters student Ashleigh Kilgannon is seeking local taste testers to be part of her research with NSW Department of Primary Industries examining research into the impact of different chilled storage temperatures on aging performance for beef.

CSU Masters student Ashleigh Kilgannon is seeking local taste testers to be part of her research examining the impact of different chilled storage temperatures on aging for beef.

“We’re investigating whether we can reduce the ageing times for beef products, without compromising food safety, eating quality or nutritive value,” Ms Kilgannon said.

Depending on the cut, MSA-graded beef products are often aged for 5-14 days – sometimes longer –  to improve the eating quality and the research project is examining whether chiller temperatures can be manipulated to accelerate that ageing process.

“Reduced ageing times would mean products reach consumers in a shorter time frame, reducing inventory and potentially delivering savings to processors and retailers,” Ms Kilgannon said.

“But it’s necessary to ensure that food safety is not compromised and that consumers are still getting a tasty and nutritious product. Our work involves ageing beef loins at varying temperatures for varying times, with many of the samples undergoing a temperature change partway through their allocated ageing time.”

The beef products will be put a panel of taste testers across regional NSW during October at consumer sensory analysis sessions in Wagga, Dubbo, Orange and Cowra.

The research, through CSU’s Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, is funded by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation.

The eating quality of each sample will be measured in the laboratory, correlated with results from consumer taste tests for the meat’s flavour, texture and tenderness.

Ms Kilgannon is supervised by NSW DPI senior principal research scientist, Dr David Hopkins, and research scientist Dr Ben Holman and Professors of Food Engineering John Mawson and Michael Campbell from CSU.

People are invited to take part in the consumer sensory analysis sessions being held in:

  • Wagga Wagga from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 Oct
  • Dubbo on Monday 16 October
  • Orange on Tuesday 17 October
  • Bathurst Wednesday 18 October, and
  • Cowra on Thursday 19 October.

To register contact Ms Kilgannon via email




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  1. Jack Randles, 11/10/2017

    Ageing beef in Australia in most commercial retail cases is to vacuum package the the bone in or out primal cut using a system of exhausting the air out of a special plastic bag in which the cut has been placed, sealing the shrunk bag & placing in a chiller set at a temperature just above freezing. Then held over a time period in which the meat cut is said to age & improve eating capability.
    Sometimes this works & sometimes it does’nt.
    Experience shows the shop butcher for consistant soft eating quality in a retail situation he buys “Baby Beef”. Young steer beef not more than nine months of age. This beef assures him no complaints of tough beef from his customers.

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