Meat Integrity: 2014 AgResearch Meat Industry Workshop

Dr Mustafa Farouk talked about Ultimate pH. Photo Robert Kemp.Meat technologists, scientists and engineers from industry, government and research organisations gathered in Hamilton recently for two workshops focused on meat processing research and development.

The organisers of the 2014 AgResearch Meat Industry Workshop, Dr Mustafa Farouk and research engineer Robert Kemp, were delighted with the quality turnout that packed out Ruakura’s McMeekan Centre. Over 70 participants delved into the three sessions addressing the theme of Meat Integrity.

The first session looked at on-farm issues for the meat industry, including animal welfare as a product quality attribute and whether early life nutrition is important for meat production.

The second session focused on various processing-related topics. How to accurately measure value in-plant was discussed by AgResearch’s Dr Cameron Craigie, who looked at near infra-red technology and the usefulness of video image analysis. He also discussed other emerging technologies such ashyperspectral imaging and Raman spectroscopy.

The fact that ‘meat bacteria don’t always obey the rules!’ was observed by AgResearch senior scientist John Mills, whose presentation covered the activities of meat spoilage bacteria over an extended period of up to 49 days at different temperatures.

Meat pH has a strong influence on the freezing point of beef, but no significant effect on its thawing point, work by Dr Mustafa Farouk’s team on ultimate pH has found.  This work could be used to avoid the problem of ice crystal formation in chilled meat products during active chilling, storage and transport, he suggested. New packaging research to reduce waste in the value chain was covered by Jeremy Warnes of SCION who talked about new polylactic acid (PLA) composites, anti-bacterial bio extracts and biofilms.

The final session focused on the importance of market access for the meat industry, with presentations from the Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie, Greenlea Premier Meats managing director Tony Egan on halal and from Pat English, executive director of the NZ China Council, on dealing with China.

MIA R&D Workshop

The AgResearch workshop was followed the next day by the MIA’s own research and development workshop.  MIA members were updated on the Meat Research Fund’s current projects looking at meat colour, extending shelf-life, Ultimate pH, E. coli, and also considered other new opportunities and the industry’s R&D strategy.

Other speakers covered the washing of stock, phages (ESR), and the use of hot water and there was also an update on Ministry of Primary Industries activities.

A special workshop for plant engineers hosted by engineering and environmental consultants GHD, ran in parallel with the morning sessions and looked at national water efficiency, water management and energy saving initiatives.

Copies of the AgResearch Meat Industry Workshop presentations are available at:

This article has appeared in Food NZ magazine (April/May 2014) and is reproduced here with permission.


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