Before a steak hits your dinner plate it's aged to improve the flavour but new Charles Sturt University (CSU) and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) research is examining if the process can be done more efficiently.
CSU Master of Philosophy student Ms Ashleigh Kilgannon (pictured left) is seeking local taste testers to be part of her research examining research on chilled storage temperatures for beef.
"We're investigating how we can reduce the ageing times for beef products without compromising food safety, eating quality or nutritive value," Ms Kilgannon said.
"Beef products are often aged for a minimum of 14 days to improve the eating quality. My research is examining how chilled temperatures can be manipulated to accelerate that ageing process.
"Reduced ageing times would mean products reach consumers in a shorter time frame, potentially delivering savings to processors and retailers. But it's necessary to ensure that food safety is not compromised and that consumers are still getting a tasty and nutritious product.
"Our work involves ageing beef loins at varying temperatures for varying times, with many of the samples undergoing a temperature change partway through their allocated ageing time."
The beef products will be put to the taste test during October at consumer sensory analysis sessions in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Orange and Cowra.
The research through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation is funded by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC).
"We measure the eating quality of meat in the laboratory and we're correlating that measurement with what consumers think of the meat's flavour, texture and tenderness," Ms Kilgannon said.
Ms Kilgannon is supervised by NSW DPI senior principal research scientist, Dr David Hopkins, and research scientist Dr Ben Holman and Professor of Food Engineering John Mawson and Michael Campbell from CSU. The research has been approved by CSU's Human Ethics Research Committee.
People are invited to take part in the consumer sensory analysis sessions in Wagga Wagga from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 October, in Dubbo on Monday 16 October, Orange on Tuesday 17 October, Bathurst Wednesday 18 October, and in Cowra on Thursday 19 October.