The project is made up of nine partners including the UK’s Leatherhead Food Research (LFR) and equipment processor Marel.
It hopes to prove that DSM, produced by low-pressure separation processes to remove meat from poultry carcasses, retains the cellular structure of the meat, unlike high-pressure processes, such as MSM.
The euro 1.25M EU Framework 7 MACSYS project aims to develop an objective method to perform quality classification of comminuted poultry meat, using techniques such as microscopical examination, which would help differentiate DSM from MSM.
Deboning is important to improve yield and sustainability of meat production. But MSM is generally considered to be of inferior quality, and its use is subject to strict regulations.
UK meat processors continue to be frustrated by EU rules, effective from April 2013, which prevent the use of DSM without labelling it as MSM since this carries consumer acceptance problems, such as the association of MSM with pejorative terms such as ‘pink slime’.
DSM now carries a lower value under MSM designation, which is no longer allowed to be included in the Quantitative Ingredient Declaration of meat. The result is that its value has fallen from around £1.58/kg to £0.8/kg, according to Kathy Groves, project manager for microscopy at LFR.
“MSM no longer contributes to the meat content [of products],” said Groves at an open day on food innovation held last month in Leatherhead. “A lot of politics is involved in this.”
Groves added: “There is a strong move to distinguish between low pressure MSM and high pressure MSM. Low pressure MSM [DSM] is closer to a minced meat preparation than MSM.”