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Thursday, 24 February 1977
Page: 516

Mr McVeigh asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice:

What progress has been made in tenderising meat thus making the whole carcass saleable at higher prices than at present.

Mr Adermann - The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

CSIRO scientists from the Division of Food Research, Meat Research Laboratory, have been testing methods which use electrical stimulation to improve the tenderness of carcasses.

They have shown that the use of low voltage stimulation of beef carcasses prevents muscle shortening, the major cause of toughness in meat. The shock is directed into the carcass through electrodes a few minutes after slaughter. The voltage used in CSIRO experiments is within the safety limit specified by the State Electricity Authorities. The electrical stimulation speeds up rigor mortis whilst the carcass is still warm so that the 'softness' of the natural muscle is largely preserved.

Without an accelerated process of rigor mortis which normally takes 24 hours, the muscles can shorten and become set' as tougher meat. Muscle shortening may be reduced by slow cooling of the carcass before rigor mortis but danger of spoilage would increase. The accelerated rigor mortis overcomes the present conflict between fast chilling to avoid spoiling and slow chilling to avoid toughness. CSIRO compared the toughness of meat from carcasses both with and without electrical stimulation and found that the stimulation treatment caused a marked increase in tenderness.

The method is likely to be attractive to industry because it is effective, simple and safe, and CSIRO is currently carrying out an investigation at meat works level with a view to recommending the most practical procedures.

CSIRO scientists are also studying methods of reforming chopped up tough cuts of meat into steaks with the tenderness characteristics of good quality more expensive cuts such as rump steak.

There are also other currently available procedures to tenderise meat such as the use of enzymes, ageing and tenderstretching, all of which are in use commercially to some small extent.

Sale of Liquor in Northern Territory (Question No. 1615)

Mr James (HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(   1 ) Do the Health authorities take frequent tests of liquor offered for sale by licensees of liquor houses in the Northern Territory. If so, how often.

(2   ) Have any offences been detected of adulterating liquor by licensees in the Northern Territory; if so; over what period, and what has been the result of these detections.

(3)   Have any prosecutions taken place. If so, what has been the result of these prosecutions, and what penalties have been imposed.

Mr Hunt - The answer to he honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No. The testings of liquor for adulteration would be undertaken by my Department upon referral of samples by the Licensing Authorities who, under the Licensing Ordinance, have the power to search, seize and have tested any liquor suspected of being adulterated. My Department has not had liquor referred to it by the Licensing Authorities for testing. Because of the above Ordinance my Department does not undertake routine testing of liquor.

(2)   and (3) Your question may be more properly directed to my colleague the Minister for the Northern Territory who has responsibility for the administration of the Licensing Ordinance.

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