Analytical Spectral Devices Announces Commercial Application for Beef Tenderness Testing

December 16, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Boulder, Colo.— The days of disappointed steak lovers biting into expensive but tough steaks may be numbered. After decades of research and testing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers at Clay Center, Nebraska have developed an advanced technology to more accurately predict meat tenderness quality in real-time at the processing plant.

In a joint development effort with analytical instrument manufacturer Analytical Spectral Devices (ASD), USDA researchers led the way in designing the QualitySpec® BT system, representing ground-breaking and non-invasive technology that enables beef processors to predict meat’s tenderness before it hits the grocery store or restaurant. The system was successfully installed at a major meat production facility earlier this year, and has been in commercial production for several months.

The technology utilizes an ASD Vis/Near Infrared (NIR) instrument that is integrated into the processing system.
Beef producers can read the ribeye at a cut between the 13th and 14th rib, and then more accurately predict the overall tenderness of that carcass while still on the processing line, thereby creating a new standard for beef quality assurance.
The United States has been on a grading system based on the amount of intramuscular fat, or marbling, of meat for several decades, but since marbling explains only a small percentage of the variation in meat tenderness, it is not a good predictor of meat tenderness. QualitySpec® BT technology allows processors to certify a carcass as tender well before it arrives on consumers’ tables.

ASD’s QualitySpec® instrument — which measures properties in food such as fat, protein and moisture — can thoroughly and non-invasively assess the content of a particular item using NIR technology. By holding the ASD spectrometer up to a piece of meat for only a few seconds, beef processors can certify that what they sell will be guaranteed tender, even after the aging process — usually around 14 days.

“Right now, neither Select nor Choice cuts of beef can be guaranteed tender,” said ASD’s Director of Business Development Michael Lands. “From extensive USDA research, tenderness is the most sought-after guarantee for all levels of the meat industry’s sales cycle, and surveys show that consumers are willing to pay a premium for meat that is guaranteed tender. The processor now has a real-time indicator of the value of the product so they can determine how to brand and price it. QualitySpec® guaranteed tender meat will allow retailers to differentiate themselves with higher standards, and let consumers know that they’re spending their money wisely on a guaranteed tender piece of meat.”

About ASD
Based in Boulder and with customers around the world, ASD provides the most reliable, high-performance analytical instrumentation solutions to industrial professionals, analytical researchers, and remote sensing scientists. In collaboration with our customers since 1990, our applications support team remains unsurpassed in solving the world’s most challenging materials measurement problems.

For more information, please contact Amanda Griffin, ASD Marketing Communications Manager, 5335 Sterling Dr., Suite A, Boulder, CO, 80301; 303/444-6522, 303/444-6825 (fax);;