A new hand-held laser probe developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to measure meat tenderness has featured in Advanced Technologies for Meat Processing, an international reference book for food scientists.
NSW DPI research scientist, Stephanie Fowler, was selected to author a chapter about her ground-breaking work using Raman spectroscopy, which uses light to assess meat quality without damaging meat products.
Dr Fowler said the meat processing industry needs to be able to measure traits on the floor to ensure meat products meet consumer demand.
“Raman spectroscopy is an ideal tool as it is non-invasive, non-destructive and can provide information in real time,” Dr Fowler said.
“We measure meat quality traits in the laboratory using expensive and expansive equipment which destroys the product and now the Raman probe gives processors a tool they can easily use without damaging valuable cuts.
“Ideally the tool can be used to identify premium cuts for which producers could expect premium prices and consumers can be assured that they are getting value for money.”
The chapter outlines how research has applied the technology to assess the quality of pork, beef and lamb.
Current challenges and future uses of Raman spectroscopy are discussed to help drive ongoing research, which will improve and refine its use in meat processing.
Nine new chapters, including the chapter by Dr Fowler, have been published in the second edition of Advanced Technologies for Meat Processing.
The book brings together international specialists with expertise in meat processing from nanotechnology-based sensors to detect pathogens to the latest advances in reducing fat and salt content in processed meats, in a text book for meat scientists and technologists.
Dr Fowler is based at the NSW DPI Cowra Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development.