Mystery shoppers will buy packs of beef from shops across the country before passing them on to be tested for toughness, the levy body has announced.
Eblex claimed the results will give a snapshot of the quality of beef being sold in English stores, creating a yardstick against which quality in future years can be measured, to show how much modern farming methods and changes in practices can influence the overall quality.
John Cross, Eblex chairman, said: “Beef is a high-price purchase in the weekly shop and consumers must be confident that they are getting value for money. It is also important that the eating experience is right and it would be remiss of Eblex not to make efforts to ensure that what is on the shelves is of consistent quality.
“This exercise will be an invaluable tool for the industry supply chain – from producers to abattoirs to retailers – in benchmarking where we are, looking at consistency in eating quality across the country and doing our best to ensure consumers continue to enjoy the best possible product.”
Eblex added that sampling will start as soon as sampling protocols are agreed and results are expected to be fed back to the retailers in the autumn.
Focus will be on the toughness of beef as well as exploring whether there can be a cost-effective test for the meat to indicate animal age. This will see whether variation in age at slaughter is influencing toughness.