Commercial trials of a new shelf-life prediction tool have shown promising results in a domestic supply chain. This tool, which has been developed by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, is designed to accurately predict the shelf-life of red meat and ultimately to reduce retail and food service industry waste.
According to data from the Australian Government, food waste costs the Australian economy an estimated 20 billion dollars every year, with Australian consumers throwing away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food. This trial, which is backed by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), has suggested that a 10% reduction in red meat waste is possible if we can improve cold chain control and the accuracy of shelf-life prediction.
According to Dr Ian Jenson, MLA program manager for market access science and technology, the tool takes a conservative approach to shelf-life and preliminary results from the trial show that the tool is highly accurate. So far, these trials have included three product types. Data analysis for the first trial (shelf-life of vacuum packaged rump roast) has been analysed and results show the product actually has a much longer shelf-life than previously believed.