Development of an objective method to perform quality classification of comminuted poultry meat (MACSYS)
Project code: MRI-FL-08-1026, 605621
Contract period: 01.01.2014 - 30.03.2016
Purpose of research: Applied research
Mechanically separated meat (MSM) is generally considered to be of inferior quality, and its use is subject to strict regulations. But development of technology for mechanical processes of meat-bone separation today makes it possible to produce a meat raw material that cannot be distinguished from meat mince. There are no objective reasons to classify all MSM as raw material of inferior quality. MACSYS aims to develop new efficient and objective solutions for the quality classification of mechanically separated poultry meat related directly to quality traits. A spectroscopy and/or impedance-based fast-track system will be developed to monitor meat quality in processing lines. Software for an automatic image analysis assessment of meat quality will be developed, based on a commonly accepted histochemical method.
Deboning of meat is an important technology to improve yield and sustainability of meat production. But Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) is generally considered to be of an inferior quality, and its use is subject to strict regulations. In contrast, manually separated meat is accepted as regular meat, and not subject to the same restrictions. But development of the technology for mechanical processes of meat-bone separation makes it possible to produce a meat raw material that cannot be distinguished from regular minced meat. There are no objective reasons to classify all MSM as being of inferior quality. EU regulations, however, still differ between MSM and meat strictly based on the production method. MACSYS has addressed a major market opportunity for the SME consortium through the development of new, efficient and objective solutions for the quality classification of comminuted poultry meat related directly to degree of degradation of muscle tissue. A spectroscopy-based fast-track system has been developed to monitor meat quality in processing lines. Software for an automatic image analysis assessment of meat quality has been developed, based on a commonly accepted immuno-histochemical method differentiating between intact and non-intact muscle fibre membranes. To achieve these outputs of the project five project results were defined at project start: N°1 Preparation, handling, documentation and characterization of standard meat samples, N°2 New antibodies and histochemical staining techniques, N°3 Common EU histochemical method to assess muscle fibre structure, N°4 Automated histological image analysis system, and N°5 Fast-track method and system for wide in-line industrial application. These project results have been obtained through 18 deliverables, which have been submitted during the 27 months project period. The main achievement is the agreement of a common immune-histochemical method to quantify muscle fibre degradation which has further been supported with the method being brought to a Cen Workshop Agreement (CEN-CENLEC/WS 83). This result is very important as a first step for the two other main outcomes of MACSYS – the cloud-based automated histochemical image analysis system, which have been developed to quantify the muscle fibre degradation based on the immuno-histochemical stainings, and the developed near-infrared spectroscopy-based (NIRS) prototype for in-line measurement of muscle fibre degradation in comminuted poultry meat, as this method should be calibrated against the immuno-histochemical method. The results can now be explored by the participating companies and in future may benefit the whole poultry industry which however will require a change in legislation.