Quebec-based innovators develop hyperspectral tool to assess marbling
By Food in Canada StaffFood Safety Technology Meat &Poultry Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network Editor pick MatrixSpec Solutions Meat grading Quebec
The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) is investing $301,428 in Montreal’s MatrixSpec Solutions, which is spearheading a project to develop an automated smart device for pork marbling assessment.
“Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada tells us that in 2022, our nation produced 2.26 million tonnes of pork, over 60 per cent of which was exported, contributing $4.82 billion to the economy,” explained Darrell Petras, CAAIN’s CEO. “Despite the sector’s economic impact, pork grading technology has advanced little over the past several decades. Innovation can be expensive both to develop and to adopt, and the potential ROI is not always self-evident. As a result, inertia is not uncommon in agriculture and primary processing, a situation that underscores the value CAAIN adds by supporting the kind of research and innovation we are celebrating today. This pork marbling measurement technology has the potential to greatly improve efficiency and profitability in an industry characterized by price volatility.”
The project, valued at $844,081, will improve the evaluation of marbling, one of the most important criteria used to determine red meat quality. The current method of grading pork involves cutting a representative loin or chop and assessing it visually. In addition to being time consuming, the process is wasteful. MatrixSpec’s Marbling Meter is a handheld device similar to a grocery store checkout scanner. It uses hyperspectral imaging to ‘read; the marbling and return a grade quickly, objectively, and without damaging the product. Because the tool is programable, it will be usable in the U.S., as well as Canada, despite the two countries’ different grading standards. For now, its focus will be limited to pork, but there is a possibility of eventually expanding the reach to beef grading.
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