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A review of probes and robots: implementing new technologies in meat evaluation

, : A review of probes and robots: implementing new technologies in meat evaluation. Journal of Animal Science 72(6): 1475-1486

Changes in function from fat-depth measurement to meat quality measurement, and vice versa, have occurred in the history of electrical and optical meat probes. In the future, robotic systems might use ultrasonics to measure subcutaneous fat depth while at the same time positioning a fiber-optic probe relative to the skeleton to measure meat quality. There is a major distinction between probes that make a measurement at a single site within the carcass and those that produce a vector of measurements as they move through the carcass. Vector measurements were introduced to find subcutaneous fat thickness, but they may be used for meat quality measurements to deal with intra- and intermuscular variation. Replacement of hand-held probes by robots is in progress and could change meat distribution and marketing, perhaps replacing conventional meat grading by lowering the unit cost of grading and improving reliability for consumers. The feasibility of using ultrasonics to find probe measuring sites in the thoraco-lumbar region of pork carcasses has been proven. This requires new types of carcass morphometry data, such as rib angles and curvatures, and intercostal dimensions.


PMID: 8071172

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