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Department of Safety and Quality of Meat

The Department of Safety and Quality of Meat carries out research on all relevant issues affecting meat as a foodstuff. The ultimate goal is to ensure the quality of meat, meat products and eggs for consumers. Raw meat quality factors of palatability and processing as well as health and microbiological safety have to be considered in this context. The entire vertical meat production chain from farm to fork is decisive for the department’s organizational structure.

The meat quality is crucial for the palatability of fresh meat and its suitability for processing. Therefore, among others the department’s studies deal with the effects of animal growth, sex and genotype, treatment and slaughter on meat quality. Important research topics are systems for quality management, management of sustainability performance and traceability as well as by-products of slaughter.

The department works out criteria and methods for the objective assessment of the composition of carcasses and cuts, and for the further development of the commercial grades for meat, including the scientific investigation of monitoring media such as computer tomography. The scientists also develop quality standards and rapid methods for the assessment of meat as a raw material. Further investigations serve to identify safety and quality relevant effects of the packaging of fresh meat and methods of freezing and frozen storage.

At the manufacture of processed meat and sausages new technologies (high pressure) and ingredients (plant extracts with antioxidative activity) are tested to make the products even healthier and safer while maintaining a high palatability.  The microbiological studies address the growth and inactivation of desired or harmful microorganisms in meat and meat products during processing, preservation, maturation and storage. Another priority is the requirement profiles and potential uses of microbial starter and protective cultures in the monitoring of harmful microorganisms in meat and meat products: finally, microbiologic-genetic resources are collected and preserved under the biodiversity aspect, and their application potential is evaluated.

The National Reference Laboratory for extraneous water in poultry meat is affiliated to the Department of Safety and Quality of Meat.