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QualitySpec BT Spectrometer

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VIS/NIR Technology Helps 'Try' Tenderness
BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 18, 2006 -- The disappointment of ordering an expensive steak but cutting into "shoe leather" could become a thing of the past, thanks to a device that uses infrared technology to more accurately predict meat tenderness quality in real-time at the processing plant, before it nano-food-safety-2.gifreaches a grocery store or steak house.

After decades of research and testing, US Department of Agriculture researchers at Clay Center, Neb. -- in a joint development effort with analytical instrument manufacturer Analytical Spectral Devices Inc. (ASD) -- led development of the QualitySpec BT system, which uses an ASD visible/near-infrared (VIS/NIR) instrument integrated into the processing system. The system was installed at a major meat production facility earlier this year and has been in commercial production for several months, ASD said.

By holding the ASD spectrometer up to a piece of meat for only a few seconds, beef processors can certify that what they sell will be guaranteed tender, even after the aging process -- usually around 14 days, ASD said in a statement.

Michael Lands, ASD's director of business development, said, "Right now, neither Select nor Choice cuts of beef can be guaranteed tender. From extensive USDA nano-food-safety.gifresearch, tenderness is the most sought-after guarantee for all levels of the meat industry’s sales cycle, and surveys show that consumers are willing to pay a premium for meat that is guaranteed tender."

Beef producers can read a ribeye at a cut between the 13th and 14th rib, then more accurately predict the overall tenderness of a carcass while it is still on the processing line, "creating a new standard for beef quality assurance," he said.

Although intramuscular fat, or marbling, of meat has been the indicator used to grade meat quality in the US for several decades, it accounts for only a small percent of variations in meat tenderness. The QualitySpec measures other predicative properties -- such as fat, protein and moisture -- and can thoroughly and noninvasively assess their content, the company said.

For more information, visit:; e-mail:

Analytical Spectral Devices Inc.
5335 Sterling Drive
Suite A
Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: (303) 444-6522
Fax: (303) 444-6825
Dec 2006

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Analytical Spectral DevicesASDindustrialinfrared technologymeat tendernessNIRphotonicsProductsQualitySpec BTspectroscopyUS Department of Agriculturevisible/near-infrared

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