The Australian Wagyu Association is pleased to announce that in working with Meat Image Japan (MIJ), they have achieved conditional approval for the MIJ-30 digital carcase camera through AUS-MEAT for objective grading of high Marble Score 0-9+. The MIJ-30 digital carcase camera is the first and only approved technology for High AUS-MEAT grading across the full 0-9+ marbling range. The approval is conditional on maintaining the standards required in the AUS-MEAT regulations such as documentation of in-plant QA systems and ongoing validation testing.
For those in the global Beef industries, Meat Image Japan (MIJ) is recognised as the founder of objective carcase quality grading for high-value beef applications. Japan is the home of Wagyu and MIJ’s Professor Keigo Kuchida has worked on image capture and analysis for the measurement of yield, quality, colour, and fatness for more than 30 years with the Japanese Meat Grading Association systems. MIJ has its technologies across the major premium global beef markets including Japan, the USA, Europe and Australia.
For high-quality Wagyu beef, MIJ has partnered with the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) to accelerate the development of its newest digital technology within the Australian premium-quality beef sector. More than 30,000 carcases across multiple Australian supply chains have been analysed to build the reference set for the new MIJ cloud-based carcase grading system. AWA identified that MIJ is recognised as the gold standard for marbling and carcase quality grading technologies, their platforms having been developed by Professor Keigo Kuchida of Obihiro University. The MIJ-30 is an evolution of the Meat Image Japan technology platform, based on three decades of scientific development and evaluation.
MIJ Managing Director Mr Atsushi Kano said that the R&D development team behind the MIJ 30 – lead by Professor Keigo Kuchida, have worked extensively in the development and testing of the camera with its industry partner – the Australian Wagyu Association. As a robust commercial grading tool, the MIJ-30 is ideal for routine industrial use in supply chains across the full range of Marble Score variation. The AWA CEO Dr Matt McDonagh said that the AWA has used the camera extensively across many processor sites over the last 3 years to develop the Australian reference data for the MIJ analysis and AUS-MEAT accreditation. Professor Kuchida described that a unique attribute of the MIJ-30 is its measurement of Marbling Fineness, which is a key attribute important to Wagyu quality. The proprietary methods for measuring marbling fineness with the MIJ-30 were established on Wagyu in Japan and these are the foundation of quality assessment for Wagyu in Japan.
“MIJ are globally recognised and trusted as scientific leaders in the objective measurement of beef, including Wagyu. In Wagyu, marbling is king. Through collaborating with MIJ, we are able to apply the best knowledge and technology for measuring marbling from Japan into the Australian industry” said AWA, chief executive, Dr Matt McDonagh.
Mr Atushi Kano said “MIJ were aware that several technologies had been seeking to undertake accreditation in Australia, but the MIJ-30 was the only technology to come forward for High AUS-MEAT grading approval for the 0-9+ marble score range. “
He said that MIJ was grateful to be able to work with the AWA to achieve a successful outcome after significant delays in undertaking the accreditation process during 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. MIJ and AWA had planned to undertake AUS-MEAT accreditation much earlier, but restrictions made it difficult to access facilities and personnel to complete the required trials for AUS-MEAT.
Dr McDonagh commented that “MIJ has been developing the MIJ-30 technology for 6 years, and it had undergone extensive research, development and testing around the world, including within many commercial Australian meat processors. Their work is published in the leading journals in the field and they are the recognised experts. It is satisfying to see MIJ’s success through conditional approval for high Marble Score grading 0-9+ within the AUS-MEAT system.”