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Dehairing of Cattle and Sheep Heads and Hoofs - Pilot Plant Technology Evaluation

Project start date: 29 March 2004
Project end date: 30 June 2006
Publication date: 01 July 2008
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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Several projects have been funded to address removal of hair, primarily for developing value added products and/or improving food safety.
Research (beef feet)
Beef feet (P.PSH.0169). This project was conducted in response to enquires from Korea about the purchase of beef feet. Previous experience was that Australian processes may not produce beef feet of suitable quality for export to Korea. The project was intended to develop a process to produce an export quality product by removing hair from beef feet.
Outcomes (beef feet)
It was concluded that there is a potential product opportunity for Australian processing companies who are willing to develop processing systems for the production of beef feet.  
Research (goat)
The MLA partnership project PSHIP 051 involving Norvic Food Processing Pty Ltd and DPI demonstrated that adaptation of the highly automated scald, de-hair, singe and wash processes operating in the pig industry to processing skin on goats was both feasible and favourable from a cost benefit perspective. The second stage of this project (P.PIP.0065) proposed to acquire, modify and commission an integrated system that efficiently processes skin on goats whilst ensuring the skin on goat meat complied with the food safety requirements of importing countries.  
Outcomes (goat)
When benchmarked against the previous system large productivity gains were achieved as follows:Production levels increased from a capacity of 800 to 1200 goats per shift.The new system reduced the labour manning units required for the de-hairing stage of processing skin on goats from 16 to 12 per shift.Labour costs reduced by $4 per head (or 28.5c/kg for a 14kg dressed goat) from the increased productivity gains in increased throughput and reduced manning levels.The percentage of reject carcases was reduced from 5.6 % to almost zero. The new system almost eliminated carcase defects due to either broken ribs, torn muscles, beater marks on the skin etc which occurred in the previous system and required carcases to be either heavily trimmed or totally rejected.

More information

Project manager: Stewart McGlashan
Primary researcher: Australian Country Choice Holdings