The research will explore semi-automatic and automatic means of measuring pH, temperature, meat colour, carcase fat, eating and nutritional qualities.
Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, described IMEQ as “truly ground-breaking” and said the red meat industry could gain up to £5m a year as a result of added revenue and efficiency gains generated by the project.
"The Integrated Measurement of Eating Quality project will integrate existing and emerging technologies, developed at home and around the world, to deliver new processes that aims to enable a comprehensive measurement of eating quality within the abattoir environment, rather than in the laboratory."
Donald Biggar, QMS chair, emphasised the importance of the project to the entire red meat supply chain which contributes £1.7b to Scotland’s GDP.
"Determining the texture and taste of meat involves a complex range of factors and this programme will carry out research to develop new processes for the rapid assessment of eating quality in the abattoir.
"Another extremely important aspect of the project, however, is the important information which will be signalled back up the chain to producers. This will allow grassroots farmers to adopt the best management systems to produce beef of a consistently high eating quality."
The initial focus of the project will be on beef, with the aim to extend the technology to lamb and pork.