Pre­mium beef a foren­sic cer­tainty

Central Queensland News - - RURAL WEEKLY -

IN A WIN for con­sumers and beef pro­duc­ers, pre­mium grass-fed and grain-fed beef prod­ucts could soon be iden­ti­fied us­ing a sim­ple foren­sic test, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers from the NSW De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Charles Sturt Uni­ver­sity.

NSW DPI meat sci­en­tist, Stephanie Fowler, said Ra­man spec­troscopy, which is used in foren­sic chem­istry to iden­tify mol­e­cules, could be used to help cer­tify pre­mium beef prod­ucts.

“The tech­nol­ogy is par­tic­u­larly suited to over­seas mar­kets where adul­ter­ation is­sues can com­pro­mise the in­tegrity of Aus­tralian beef and could help main­tain mar­ket ac­cess for our pre­mium prod­ucts in high-value mar­kets,” she said.

“Con­sumers need to feel con­fi­dent they are get­ting what they pay for and Ra­man tech­nol­ogy, which is a hand-held laser de­vice, could de­liver the cor­rect anal­y­sis in real time dur­ing pro­cess­ing.”

Ra­man spec­trog­ra­phy uses a laser to in­ter­act with the chem­i­cal bonds of the prod­uct.

CSU post-grad­u­ate stu­dent, Brid­gette Lo­gan has won a schol­ar­ship from the Aus­tralian Meat Pro­ces­sors Cor­po­ra­tion to de­liver the three-year project funded by Meat & Live­stock Aus­tralia.

“Clearly it’s im­por­tant to be able to ver­ify grass and grain-fed beef and Ra­man of­fers a timely, cost-ef­fec­tive process,” Ms Lo­gan said.

“Cur­rent lab­o­ra­tory test­ing is costly, re­source in­tense and is not sus­tain­able.

“Lab tests re­quire de­struc­tion of the meat, while Ra­man spec­trog­ra­phy is a non-in­va­sive, non-de­struc­tive tech­nol­ogy.

“We’ve al­ready iden­ti­fied ex­tremes and set pa­ram­e­ters for grain-fed and grass-fed prod­ucts.

“The aim is to de­velop the tech­nol­ogy to a point where we can trial it in the field and as­cer­tain how rapidly the tech­nol­ogy can be de­liv­ered.”

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