THE commissioning of an improved electrical stimulation unit for the sheep and lamb kill floor at renowned abattoir VV Walsh, Bunbury, is set to revolutionise the sheep and meat industry with benefits that will prove to be more cost effective and include increased tenderness.
VV Walsh, which processes 3000 lambs a day, also processes for its own Amelia Park brand and Woolworths WA.
The improved stimulation process has already shown potential to boost overall consumption and the perception of lamb in the marketplace.
The stimulation process is a significant step up from the more traditional high voltage stimulation system and features more user-friendly attributes for processors including being less expensive, less dangerous to use and much lower in voltage.
The new system is easier for processors to implement into their production with the new mid-range voltage and easy instalment providing a cost-effective alternative.
The process is the culmination of a large research and development effort by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Australian Sheep Industry CRC.
MLA processing research and development manager Ian Richards said VV Walsh had been a significant collaborator in the research, which would allow new age, simple, flexible and safe electrical stimulation systems for lamb and mutton chains.
MLA sheepmeat eating quality research and development manager Dave Pethick said the advantages of electrical stimulation for lamb and mutton products would be huge.
"The most obvious benefits were that the meat reaches its tenderness potential about five days sooner compared to no stimulation and importantly it greatly reduces the variability in toughness," Dr Pethick said.
"The bottom line is that consumers benefit with more tender lamb and better value for money since products can be presented more quickly.
"The data results have clearly indicated that there is a significant reduction of tenderness variability."
Woolworths Bunbury Mat???????? Centre WA manager Adrian Harrod is delighted with the outcome.
He highlighted the auditing requirements of Woolworths to assure the tenderness benefits were flowing to consumers.
Dr Pethick and Mr Richards said WA's major sheep processors on mass had shown vision and commitment along with V & V Walsh, Fletchers International, Hillside Meats and WAMMCO International, who had all made significant contributions to researching the electrical stimulations systems.
They said these companies had impressive brands that would deliver what consumers wanted.
WA's major processors were leading the country and the world with technology focused at the consumer, they said.