Quality Meat Scotland looks into grading technology

The Scottish red meat industry is this week embarking on a world-first project, aimed at developing breakthrough technology to determine the eating quality of meat.

The Scottish Agricultural College has been announced as lead partner in the delivery of the £950,000 three-year project, jointly funded by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Scottish Government.

Known as IMEQ (Integrated Measurement of Eating Quality), the project aims to develop a ground-breaking automatic or semi-automatic system to measure eating quality.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I am delighted that this groundbreaking meat eating quality project, which will further enhance the Scotch beef brand, is now under way.

"The Scottish Government is investing £470,000 in the three-year QMS project to boost research and development in the red meat industry. This is yet another example of our commitment to delivering a vibrant and profitable future for the Scottish food industry, by maximising the rich resources of our farming and processing sector.”

QMS chairman Donald Biggar emphasised the importance of the project to the entire production chain – from producers to caterers and retailers who sell the product direct to consumers.

“A complex range of factors determines the texture and taste of meat and this programme will carry out research to develop new processes for the rapid assessment of eating quality in the abattoir.

“Equally important, however, is the important signal this will send back up the chain to producers, who will be able 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.

>>Quality Meat Scotland to up 2010 spend by a quarter

>>Beef research centre opens doors

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