Spanish slaughterhouse uses Norwegian measurement techniques

A Norwegian system, which is currently being used to measure water in dried fish and fat and colour in salmon fillets, has been further developed to measure fat and water in pork off-cuts. The technology has recently been tested on cases full of pork in Spain.

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Jens Petter Wold

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jens.petter.wold@nofima.no

"The Spaniards are now aiming to get this into production as soon as they can," says senior researcher Jens Petter Wold of Nofima Mat (formerly Matforsk) happily.

Measuring deeper

MeatVision is the name of a user-controlled project financed by the Research Council of Norway’s Food Programme. One part of the project concerns the development of on-line measuring techniques for meat based on near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. NIR spectroscopy for measuring fat and water in minced meat has been on the market for a while and is in used in several places in Norway.
"What’s new is that this NIR technology measures more deeply into the meat than other systems can. The system is also imaging; that means you can see an image of a piece of meat and see how the fat is distributed," explains Jens Petter Wold. In the project, methods are being developed for measuring fat in intact pork loin and belly, beef off-cuts and cases of pork off-cuts.

Fat most important

At Faccsa, a meat processing company in Malaga, all the off-cuts from the slaughter line end up in cases that are sold on and distributed. The fat content is one of the most important quality criteria and is critical for price. Both at Faccsa and in Norway this is currently judged based on experience and regular spot checks. "But the fat content is often many percentage points over or under the specified content. With this new system, every single case can be measured, which means you get a much better measurement of the actual fat content," says Wold.

Big project

MeatVision is a large and complex project, with Nortura as project manager, in collaboration with Animalia, Sintef, Nofima Mat, the Norwegian company Qvision and the Spanish company Faccsa. Nofima Mat and Sintef ICT have developed the system in collaboration with Qvision and it was tested in Malaga in March.

Pictures: Images of cases show fat distribution. Average fat content in the cases is 16% (top), 30% and 50%.

Raw materials and process optimisation  

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