Everything counts in the meat processing industry, and chemical lean (CL) determines the value of meat trim more than any other factor. With increasing pressure to measure CL as quickly and precisely as possible, X-ray fat analysis is overtaking traditional methods as the new industry standard—and with good reason.
In this article, we explore the critical role CL plays in determining profits and how X-ray technology is giving processors unprecedented control of the fat analysis process.
Why is CL accuracy so important for processors’ bottom lines?
For the meat industry, it’s crucial to determine CL as accurately as possible as it is the biggest determiner of meat pricing. Knowing the precise CL of meat enables processors to control their incoming raw materials, minimize giveaway, maximize saleable meat, and ultimately capitalize on the true value of their products.
Recent trends are also placing growing pressure on meat producers to label their products’ CL reliably. Health conscious consumers want to know exactly how much fat is in their meat, supermarkets want to avoid costly fat claims, and stricter regulatory standards demand fully traceable processes.
These pressures pose a number of challenges. Traditional fat analysis methods including laboratory methods and table-top reference methods such as NIR (near infrared) spectroscopy are slow, prone to errors, and wasteful of lean trim, which means that thorough testing comes at the cost of valuable time and yield.
To keep up with growing demands, producers of burgers, sausages, and ground meat are now turning toward newer and more effective X-ray fat analysis technology that can guarantee correct CL values without destroying yield and giving away profits.