New EU project aiming to create a ‘meat database’ to help map out and improve taste and quality22 Aug 2022
A new EU project set up to assess and improve meat quality in the food supply chain plans to create a large database of EU meat. It investigates whether pork and chicken meat from organic livestock farming tastes better than meat from intensive husbandry.
The mEATquality project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, began earlier in 2022 and will last four years.
Led by project coordinator Hans Spoolder from Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Netherlands, it will look at the taste and quality of meat at multiple farms in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Italy – with a particular focus on how different breeds of animal, types of food used, and animal welfare, can impact the quality and taste of meat.
“People who eat organic products say they taste better,” said Spoolder. "But do they? And if so, why?”
The project aims to develop innovative techniques for automated quality assessment at high line speeds and will also support the fight against food fraud through blockchain technology and the authentication of the final product via ‘fingerprinting techniques.’
While the mEATquality project is coordinated by Spoolder and his colleagues at WUR, it will be carried out by a consortium of 17 partners organisations representing seven EU countries. This consortium consists of seven academic partners, five scientific research centres, two industry partners and three organisations that represent the organic or conventional meat chains, he noted.
Outputs from the project will include the increase of practical information on new husbandry approaches through a ‘sustainability app’ for pig and broiler farmers, but will also be in the development of a template for a European Meat Database to help combat food fraud.
“This kind of European database exists for wine,” said Spoolder, adding that a company is also setting up a large database for beef and lamb.
“The traceability of meat is important in the prevention of meat fraud; think of the horse meat scandal and meat being labelled as organic when it actually comes from factory farming,” he said, noting that identifying meat fraud is ‘a side track’ of the main project.
“We don’t have the budget to develop it further, but we will be able to contribute to an international meat database in due course.”
A database for meat
Throughout the project, meat from the different farms will have its chemical properties investigated in the lab, whilst also being presented to taste panels, he noted, adding that that because large amounts of data will be gathered from multiple countries, a new ‘data warehouse’ will be set up where all the data can be collected and stored.
Spoolder noted that the new project must be able to collect, store and combine multiple sets of data from animal welfare questionnaires, taste panels, lab work, and more.
“We need to set up a water-tight code system that allows you to trace where the meat sample comes from, from start to finish,” he said. “It is essential that everyone measures the same thing and submits data in the same way.”
“We will do a comprehensive chemical and physical analysis of the meat. We want to link this to the origin of the meat,” he said.
“After all, you want to be able to check whether the meat from a German organic pig farm really tastes different and has a separate composition than the meat from a conventional Danish pig farm.”
Wouter Hoenderdaal, developer at Wageningen Food Safety Research, responsible for building out the data warehouse at WUR said while the project itself is in its infancy, the processes that precede data collection are of ‘equal importance.’
“Part of the animal is sent to the lab, another part to the taste panels. So, we need to set up a fool-proof coding system that allows you to trace where the meat sample came from: which animal, farm, region and country.”
NutriScore algorithm update a ‘step in right direction’
7 Sep 2022
Campaigning organisation Foodwatch International is hailing the update to the NutriScore algorithm as a “step in the right direction” but says there is still space for further improvement.Read more
Are new WHO sweeteners guidelines ‘a disservice’ to public health?
6 Sep 2022
New draft recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) warn that zero-calorie sweeteners should not be used to help weight control or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases’ (NCDs) – sparking mixed reactions from industry groups.Read more
How the Ukraine crisis may affect the food chain transition
2 Sep 2022
From supply issues to price surges, the impacts of the Russo-Ukrainian war on the global food value chain are significant. What pain points has this crisis exposed, and what should the response be?Read more
Canadian authorities report titanium dioxide is safe in food, in the face of EU ban
1 Sep 2022
Health Canada joins the UK’s Food Standards Agency in concluding that titanium dioxide is ‘safe to consume’, putting it squarely at odds with recent safety assessments in Europe that led to a ban of the ingredient.Read more
Most food businesses are placing inflationary costs on consumers, survey finds
31 Aug 2022
Consumers are being hit with product price increases as manufacturers pass on higher costs to the public. But with some major food manufacturers registering profits, is a public backlash on the cards?Read more
Hyperlocalisation promotes food system resilience and diversification
30 Aug 2022
Climate change action and new technologies are driving a rise in hyperlocalisation throughout the global food chain, improving the industry’s adaptability and ability to meet consumer demands for greater choice.Read more
Tackling the rise of antimicrobial resistance
29 Aug 2022
As the 2030 goal of halving antimicrobial use edges closer and a 2022 regulation is brought in to reduce antibiotic use on farm animals, the food industry is loudening its calls for action amid the increasing resistance to antimicrobials.Read more
WWF report slams Europe’s damning effect on the global food system
26 Aug 2022
Europe may not be helping, but in fact hindering the global food system by inciting gross environmental, societal, and fiscal harm, a recent WWF report shows. Consumers however are hungry for change.Read more
Researchers develop automation method to isolate volatile food ingredients
25 Aug 2022
A research team in Germany has applied automation to a long-standing method to isolate volatile food compounds, creating advantages over the existing manual process, which include food manufacturers’ potential to increase yields and lower the contamina...Read more
New partnership strives to improve cocoa farming in Ivory Coast
24 Aug 2022
Conseil du Cafe-Cacao and IDH’s Sustainable Trade Initiative launch a new programme, Cocoaperation, to support cocoa farming and improve the livelihoods of cocoa producers.Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation