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Call for industry input into shelf life research

Dec 19 2014

Extending the shelf life of Welsh Lamb has been long considered vital in increasing its market value and export potential.

Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is in the process of identifying the factors affecting Welsh Lamb’s shelf life, which currently stands at an average of 21 days.

“The PGI Welsh Lamb brand is recognised and respected across the globe,” said Luned Evans, HCC’s Industry Development Officer. “In order to take advantage of this status we need to be able to export as cost-effectively as possible, and shelf life is a major contributory factor.

“When compared with New Zealand lamb’s shelf life of 100 days, it is clear that this is a key area for development for us in Wales.”

Alongside microbial and other trials, early research undertaken with all areas of the supply chain has highlighted some key factors which the industry can address immediately – from the way in which animals are finished, to transport between farm and abattoir, and operations throughout the supply chain.

Using the insights from this preliminary work, the researchers will embark on a discussion with the wider industry to look at the communication and dissemination of the early findings.

Interviews and group discussions with farmers, processors and livestock markets have already taken place in order to identify some of the issues that are considered most important to them.

An online survey will also be launched in early 2015 which will be open to everyone involved in the Welsh Lamb supply chain.

Miss Evans explained: “As the microbial, chill chain and other trials continue, we want to engage with the industry as a whole. There will be a link to the survey on the HCC website and we will also be contacting people directly with information on how to take part. All farmers, processors, distributors and retailers are encouraged to participate.

“This is a really important step in the shelf-life project and for the industry as a whole, as it gives everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion. It will also help us with the development of initiatives to extend the shelf-life of PGI Welsh Lamb in ways that will benefit the sector.”

“Clear communication and industry collaboration have been the key to success in similar markets in other regions and countries.”

The survey will be available on HCC’s website in early 2015: http://hccmpw.org.uk/

HCC is working with Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities through the WISE Network to develop a supply-chain wide approach to investigating how best to take full advantage of opportunities for the PGI Welsh Lamb brand.

The WISE Network is a programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme through the Welsh Government.

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