CSIRO scientist recognised for innovative ‘dark meat’ prevention technology at ABARES conference

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th March 2016

A CSIRO scientist has been recognised for creating a processing technology which reduces ‘dark meat’ at an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) conference in Canberra.


Dark meat is when uncooked meat turns a purple or dark red colour. Once dark meat has set in the meat may have a shorter shelf-life, have an off-flavour and it is often harder to sell to consumers. Dark meat is usually caused by undue stress on-farm or in transport and until now most methods for improving meat colour have focussed on pre-slaughter interventions.


CSIRO scientist Joanne Hughes won the red meat processing category at the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for her processing technology. Her machinery uses high-pressure processing (HPP) technology under low temperatures to lighten the colour of high-value primal meat cuts. HPP is also used to extend shelf-life, and retain nutrition and flavours.


“Sometimes people in the industry tell me that HPP on fresh meat generates a “cooked- like” appearance, and meat goes brown in colour,” Hughes said.


“However, this is not the case when using lower temperatures and pressures like we will be. So, by using controlled conditions, we want to show that dark meat colours can be lightened with no adverse effects on eating quality,” she said.