Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality

SHEEPMEAT researchers are tackling the problem of what impact long-haul shipping routes have on eating quality, with a new series of consumer trials planned for the United States.
Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality Researching impact of shipping on lamb quality

Murdoch University postgraduate researcher Maddison Corlett.

Alex Paull

Following feedback from American consumers that Australian lamb has a ‘gamey’ flavour, Murdoch University post-graduate researcher Maddison Corlett is examining whether this is true and the possible causes of this perception.

“We believe it could be due to either nutrition or the ageing of the meat in transit on long-haul shipping routes from Australia to the US,” Corlett said.

“We are in the process of researching whether different feeding regimes, different cuts or different ageing periods are affecting the way US consumers perceive the eating quality of Australian lamb.”

Corlett will examine whether consumers can discern differences between six different cuts of both grassfed and grainfed lamb that has been aged in cold-storage for five, 21 or 45 days.

“Research has previously shown that Australian consumers cannot distinguish any difference in terms of eating quality between grass and grainfed lamb, so it will be interesting to see whether US consumers can discern any differences,” Corlett said.

“Previous research has also shown that ageing does affect tenderness, but in Australia most lamb is consumed within 10 days post slaughter.”

The grass and grainfed lambs – a group of male lambs from Terminal breeds – were prepared with the assistance of the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and processed at JBS Bordertown.

The meat samples have since been aged at two degrees Celsius, and then frozen to maintain their condition until the consumer trials are undertaken in the US in June.

Corlett’s research is sponsored by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry through its post-graduate training program.