The meat industry accounts for 50% of Northern Ireland’s agricultural output and, in these challenging times, the quality of our produce has never been more important.
The shelf-life of meat is a key challenge for the entire meat supply chain, especially given the distance to major markets in Great Britain. The shelf-life of fresh meat is inherently limited and, unfortunately, this can lead to considerable wastage for both consumers and retailers, as highlighted by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).
The Food Research Branch team at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute is identifying strategies to extend shelf-life and is working with the meat industry to mitigate financial losses and also contribute to sustaining the industry and protecting the environment.
Over the past number of years AFBI have become a leading expert of High Pressure Processing (HPP) and have helped many companies of varying sizes, market their products internationally through the use of HPP. HPP is a cold pasteurisation technique that subjects packaged foods to high pressures in a water medium. HPP has been proven to extend product shelf-life by inactivating the vegetative flora present in food.
The next goal for the AFBI Food Research team is to identify which naturally occurring compounds cause this effect and investigate whether or not similar compounds can be extracted from the waste streams of Northern Ireland’s food industry. Preliminary results are very encouraging and the outlook for developing a circular food economy is exciting!
Notes to editors:
AFBI is an arms-length body of DAERA delivering research and development, diagnostic and analytical testing, emergency response capability and expert scientific advice for DAERA and other government departments, public bodies and commercial companies in Northern Ireland, and further afield.
AFBI’s Vision is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.
AFBI’s core areas:
- Leading improvements in the agri-food industry;
- Protecting animal, plant and human health;
- Enhancing the natural and marine environment.
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