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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11F033 Teagasc (UCC, UCD) €565,722

Project Title:

Packaging & Chilling technologies to enhance meat quality & safety

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Declan J. Bolton

Project Abstract

Hot/warm boning offers significant cost saving opportunities for the Irish beef industry. While the improvements in meat quality and yield have been scientifically proven, information on the microbiological aspects of this technology is lacking. In theory the elevated storage temperatures encountered during hot/warm boning could support the growth of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria resulting in reduced shelf-life and increased risk to the consumer. Blown pack spoilage (BPS), already a significant issue for the Irish beef industry, is of particular concern as hot/warm boning could further exacerbate an already serious issue. This project will study the microbiology of hot/warm boned meat using internationally accepted methodologies. Active and smart packaging solutions to reduce and/or prevent BPS will be developed and validated. Rapid cooling with slurry will be investigated as a technology to improve both the physiochemical and microbiological quality and safety of hot/warm boned beef including an assessment of the suitability of this technology for use with meat intended for further processing. For the first time, the genome of a BPS Clostridial species (C. estertheticum, the most common and most rapid cause of BPS in Ireland and elsewhere) will be mapped using state-of-the-art sequencing and bioinformatic methods. Finally a multiplex real time PCR assay will be developed to detect C. estertheticum, C. gasigenes and C. ruminantium, providing the Irish beef industry with a technology that is more rapid, detects a broader range of BPS causing species and, most significantly, is at least 100-fold more sensitive (and therefore suitable for sanitation and decontamination validation checks) than that currently available. Overall, this project will increase the competitiveness, profit margins and overall value of the Irish beef industry through the provision of significant cost savings achieved through reduced processing and spoilage costs.

Final Report:

Final report 11F033 (pdf 277Kb)