Sustainably and ethically produced meat

Meat produced in Finland must be safe and high quality. Our research focuses on factors affecting the safety and quality of red meat (beef, pork, mutton, game) and poultry meat throughout the production chain, from farm to fork. In our research, we pay particular attention to the sustainability and ethics of meat production.

Meat production is an important sector of the food industry, which must in the future increasingly invest in sustainability and ethics. Sustainably produced meat must be safe and high quality. Key to sustainable meat production are healthy animals and the ethical conduct of the work. The transport, handling, stunning and slaughtering of animals significantly affect meat quality. At our department, research topics include successful stunning and its effect on meat quality.

In meat inspection, steps are being rapidly taken towards risk-based inspection, which encompasses the entire chain from farm to fork. One of our most significant research subjects is the reform and standardisation of meat inspection, with related activities carried out as part of a wider European research network. We also investigate the presence of meat-borne microbes throughout the meat production chain and their relevance to public health.

As a living storage of pathogenic microbes, wildlife constitute a considerable factor. We are interested in the role of wildlife in the transmission of zoonotic pathogens to the meat production chain. Game is often considered more ethical and sustainable than meat originating in production animals, and its consumption is expected to grow in the future. There are currently several research projects relating to the quality and safety of game ongoing at the department.

Sustainable meat production also involves the increasingly effective utilisation of sidestreams. Some of these can be turned into food products, while slaughterhouse by-products not fit for human consumption can be used as animal feed.  Other research topics investigated at the department include the quality and safety of by-products targeted at pets.