Welsh lamb hits high marks in scientific tests
Latest results from the Welsh Lamb Meat Quality Project, a five-year programme of scientific analysis and consumer taste panel testing, has shown that PGI Welsh Lamb is hitting the mark in terms of both its nutritional content and its tenderness.
The EU and Welsh Government-funded project, part of HCC’s wider Red Meat Development Programme, aims to keep Welsh lamb at the top of the worldwide game by investigating what on-farm and processing factors influence the eating quality of lamb.
The results show that Welsh lamb fed on grass and brassicas has particularly high levels of beneficial Omega-3 nutrients.
Animals reared on grass, and on roots and brassicas, produced meat which had levels of 124 mg of Omega-3 per 100 grams, compared to average concentrate-fed lamb of 89mg.
Meanwhile scientific analysis of tenderness, carried out using the industry-recognised ‘shear-force’ method using specialist equipment, showed that all Welsh Lamb compared well to industry benchmarks. But lamb produced during the height of the production season in Wales – represented in samples taken in August and November – yielded exceptionally tender meat.
Project leader Dr. Eleri Thomas said: “Our project combines the views of nearly 2,000 consumers, measured during blind taste tests, with independent scientific analysis of samples of Welsh Lamb, to assess how we can ensure that we continue to lead the world in product quality and consistency.
“These latest scientific findings help add to the picture which is showing that a number of the traditional strengths of the Welsh sheep sector such as pasture-based production are helping to drive the quality of the end product.
“We look forward to releasing more of the consumer panel findings over the next few months.”
The latest findings of the projects will be showcased to the industry and the wider public at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. At the Hybu Cig Cymru stand, different cuts of Welsh Lamb will be prepared for people to sample, and project staff will be on hand to discuss the findings.
HCC’s Welsh Lamb Meat Quality project is one of three 5-year projects in the Red Meat Development Programme funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.