Our scientists are exploring wider uses and benefits from the whole carcass. The breadth of capability within AgResearch allows this programme to touch on aspects of animal welfare, specifically in the way animals are stunned prior to slaughter, the sources of microbial contamination that exist along the value chain, and the levels of microbial resistance to sanitisers used in a processing plant.
Our research has provided new knowledge around spoilage levels, and provided context for the industry when working with a range of cultural preferences.
At the other end of the production chain, our work in this programme has created new identification points for critical reservoirs and vectors of STECs on dairy farms, spectral detection systems for key pathogens and spoilers, and new non-invasive techniques to authenticate food products.
This wide-ranging programme highlights the capability within this team, and their innovative thought-leadership for industry – which is a critical ability in this time of customer-centric production, where the enduser now demands to know how their ‘food’ was raised and treated, before consumption.
When looking at the drivers and opportunities for New Zealand meat exports, we need to look at the whole value chain from farm to market.
This programme will continue to address the future challenges, including how on-farm practices impact microbial loading and product shelf-life and food safety, the effects of climate change on food production, and increased focus on product traceability and authentication.
Also, the challenges of maintaining a consistent supply of high-quality meat and the large amount of commodity beef that comes from the dairy platform give the opportunity to get added value for the New Zealand farmer. We will be better placed to realise this opportunity if we develop new knowledge and technologies that can take advantage of the ever-growing Asian markets and their desire for safe, high-quality meat products that are tailored to their preferences.