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Improving the quality of red meat: the Australian lamb industry as an example

Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677, Banks, R. and Ball, A. (2010) Improving the quality of red meat: the Australian lamb industry as an example. In: 61st European Association for Animal Production (EAAP) Annual Meeting, 23 - 27 August, Heraklion, Greece.


Research undertaken by Meat and Livestock Australia recommends the future progression of red meat products to ideally follow 5 pillars of consumer interest, (i) integrity and tractability (ii) eating quality (iii) human nutritional value (iv) ethical and sustainable production systems and (v) value and efficiency. This paper describes the approach taken by the Australian lamb industry with respect to increasing lean meat yield of the carcase while simultaneously improving eating quality and the nutritive value of lamb to humans. The key proposition is that genetics and meat science research is undet1aken simultaneously within a large synchronised project, as this will deliver the most efficient and powerful results. The outcomes are to underpin genetic and nongenetic (i.e. production systems) progress, which are then linked to clear delivery mechanisms. In the case for Australia the delivery systems revolve around the Sheep Genetics and Meat Standards Australia programs, which underpin industry mechanisms for progress on genetics and eating quality. The final project was launched as the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation in 2007 whereby a large breeding program called the Information Nucleus was established. This utilises approximately I 00 new sires mated per year to 5000 ewes over 8 diverse production sites. Each year, initially for 5 years, 2000 slaughter lambs will undergo detailed measurement of lean meat yield, eating quality (eg taste tests, intramuscular fat, shear force) and human health attributes (Fe, Zn, fatty acid profile). The early results show considerable scope for managing the complex interactions between yield, eating quality and human health attributes through genetic means combined with the appropriate production knowledge to deliver the genetic outcomes.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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