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STAGE 1 – Process control of sheep processing and product shelf life improvement

Project start date: 24 September 2015
Project end date: 16 November 2015
Publication date: 01 November 2015
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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With the assistance of MLA, ovine processors can investigate various aspects of process control with respect to slaughter, dressing, boning and packaging operations. The projects presented below are summaries of findings to reduce the microbial load, process control and to improve shelf life.

The objectives of these project were to:

1. Assess production and cold chain management for effect on process control and shelf-life.
2. Assess process control monitoring and shelf-life testing programs.
3. Assess any existing data on product and supply chains (microbial, temperature, etc) for suitability to predict shelf life ranges using University of Tasmania (UTas) models.
4. Design a study to assess the effect of multiple variables on the shelf-life of chilled vacuum-packed primals.

As part of the project the slaughter floor and boning room were visited and presentations were made on our red meat shelf-life and our carcase microbial profile. As well, shelf-life studies, chilled products, destinations and transport logistics were discussed. Subsequently, options for extending shelf-life were presented and potential future investigations were developed and explored in the final report.

This investigation will see reduction in customer complaints and claims related to the proportion of products that do not meet the shelf life date, or returned due to product quality issues at the time of consumption close to the shelf life date. If proven successful, it'll provide Australian chilled vacuum packed sheep and lamb product with an advantage over other competing countries through shelf life extension.

More information

Contact email:
Primary researcher: Fletcher International Exports