5th April 2010

Restaurateur Applauds World-leading Red Meat Project

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.

SAC has today (Monday 5th April) been announced as lead partner in the delivery of the £950,000 three-year project, jointly funded by Quality Meat Scotland 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.

Scotland would be the first to have this novel technology which would deliver benefits throughout the meat production chain and could be integrated into existing systems used by meat processors.

Leading Scottish restaurateur, Tony Singh, proprietor chef of the acclaimed “Oloroso” in Edinburgh, welcomed the innovative project. More than one in three customers at Oloroso, a founder member of the Scotch Beef Club, choose to order steak and, Mr Singh pointed out, customers are increasingly discerning as they become better informed.

“Our customers are very interested in the background of the meat they eat and they expect a consistent high quality product which is exactly what this project will ensure we can deliver,” said Mr Singh, who will be serving Scotch Lamb and seafood to VIPs and press at Scotland Week in New York later this week.

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 underway.  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.”

Professor Geoff Simm, Academic Director and Vice-Principal of SAC, said SAC is delighted to be taking the lead in a consortium of suppliers which will work together to deliver the project.

“The Scottish red meat industry has an enviable reputation for quality but recognises the need to embrace innovation to ensure it can continue to deliver a first-class product.  This is an exciting opportunity to develop world-class science to apply to a world-class industry,” said Professor Simm.

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 determine 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.

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