AFBI food scientists play a key role in international Beef Flavour initiative

Date published: 10 October 2017

Area of Expertise:

Researchers from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Australia, Texas Tech University and a major Australian Beef Processor recently met at AFBI Newforge to discuss a collaborative programme of research on beef flavour.

The AFBI team including Front Row (L-R) Dr Elizabeth Magowan (AFBI DCEO) and Dr Linda Farmer (Head of Food Research Branch) with visitors from Australia, Texas Tech University and a major Australian Beef Processor who recently met at AFBI Newforge

The initiative is designed to combine the knowledge from these key centres of food research to explore further opportunities to optimise beef eating quality especially in terms of its flavour.

The meeting builds on existing collaborative links between AFBI, Australia and Texas, which have formed the basis of extensive research links over the past 10 years.  AFBI food scientists identified marker compounds for beef flavour and developed a protocol and training for their analysis by scientists in Texas and other international locations. Commenting on the meeting in Belfast, Dr Linda Farmer, who heads Food Research in AFBI said “This is a very exciting occasion for AFBI and we are delighted to be able to work with colleagues from Australia, Texas and others, to fully harness the opportunity and knowledge gained from our research activities on beef quality and flavour”.

Dr Rod Polkinghorne, of Birkenwood Pty Ltd, Australia, commented that “Having made big progress with the management of tenderness of beef, flavour is the next challenge. It is important that we bring together the best scientists in this field to agree how to develop practical solutions”

The meeting at AFBI was followed by a workshop held at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) where Dr Farmer presented a keynote paper to a global audience of scientists and industry representatives. The UNECE is an international body focused on standards and their harmonisation and the purpose of the meeting was to discuss and agree the potential to establish international standards for beef nomenclature and eating quality.

Dr Farmer provided an expert opinion on “Grading to Satisfy Consumer Aspiration”. In this keynote paper, Dr Farmer highlighted the fact that the entire beef supply chain is ultimately funded by consumers.  She also discussed the available evidence on what consumers expect from beef and reviewed progress on the various methods that have been studied to help the beef industry meet consumer expectations for quality. 

Other talks at the meeting included a paper on the genetics of Irish cattle, presented by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, as well as progress made by Meat Standards Australia in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Poland. 

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

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