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Organic Farming Research at University College Cork

University College Cork is involved in carrying out research on 'Eating quality and consumer perceptions of organic and conventionally reared meats'. The Project Ref. Number is 00/R&D/C/77.

This project aims to determine the degree and nature of differences between organic and conventionally produced muscle foods. The project will be divided into two phases. In the first phase organically reared poultry will be compared to conventionally reared poultry. During the second phase of the project beef reared under the two regimes will be compared.

The first task of each phase will be to define the composition, particularly the lipid and fatty acid content in muscle from each regime. This aspect is important because of the concerns of the consumer in relation to lipid content, saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.

Consumer perception of meat quality and freshness is also strongly linked to colour, flavour and texture. At the point of sale, colour and colour stability are the most important attributes of meat quality. In this project, colour and colour stability will be determined in meats held aerobically and under modified atmosphere packaging conditions.

Lipid oxidation, which is a major cause of deterioration in quality of muscle foods and can directly affect many quality characteristics such as flavour, colour, texture, nutritive value and safety of muscle foods will be determined.

The sensory character (appearance, texture and flavour) of organically and conventionally produced poultry and beef will be profiled and statistically compared to preferences made by naive consumers. This information will lead to a clearer understanding of the needs of consumers and will provide useful information about the sensory character of organic and conventionally produced muscle foods.

The project will end on 31 December 2003.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Liz Sheehan,
Department of Food and Nutritional Science,
University College Cork,
Western Road,

Tel: (021) 4903125