The levy body will be working with the University of Bristol to assess different post-slaughter treatments on mutton and their effect on the meat. This should pave the way for processors and producers to adopt clear practices to improve quality.
Specific techniques being testing include hip suspension, electrical stimulation and maturation periods.
Kim Matthews, head of research and development for Eblex, said: “Mutton is a niche market, but this work will help us refine information on what gives the best eating experience for all of those consumers who enjoy it and those in the supply chain in England.
“In theory, successful techniques used with old-season lambs should work the same with mutton, but we need to verify the benefits before issuing any advice.”
The move has been prompted by the ongoing work of the Mutton Renaissance Project, a campaign launched by the Prince of Wales to support British sheep farmers, who were struggling to sell their older animals and encourage consumers to rediscover a traditional British food.
There is also growing demand for mutton within the halal sector.