Marbling in red meat is so named because the streaks of fat resemble a marble pattern. It adds flavour and, therefore, is one of the main criteria for judging meat quality. Typically, the more marbling, the better the cut. Canada Pork International, the export promotion agency of our nation’s pork industry, has developed a quality-based classification system that confirms the importance of marbling in determining meat quality. Unfortunately, existing assessments tend to rely on visual inspection, which in turn requires that the loin be cut, a difficult, unreliable process that devalues the meat in question. In an effort to standardise pork grading, MatrixSpec Solutions has developed and validated in research-scale testing Marbling Meter, an automated loin chop marbling assessment tool.

The proposed project will develop an upgraded prototype appropriate for industrial use, expanding capacity so that it can assess marbling on the entire loin from the outer surface without any cutting. MatrixSpec will test and validate the system in a pork processing plant. This project will also deploy big data analytics on a pork quality evaluation database to investigate factors influencing marbling including, among others, management practices and breed. The goal of this aspect of the initiative is to build an intelligent platform capable of predicting marbling based on appropriate management information. Marbling Meter will be used to verify those findings.

The upgraded system will apply artificial intelligence, image processing, and pattern recognition to automate marbling assessment in varying sizes and scales of pork processing plants. The end result will be to improve the Canadian pork industry’s operational efficiency, productivity, competitiveness, and profitability. Furthermore, by adopting these technological innovations, processors will create new and better positions, allowing employers to re-train their top employees and attract and retain highly skilled workers.

CAAIN Contribution

Total Project Value

Project Contact
Dr. Laura Liu
Chief Technology Officer
MatrixSpec Solutions Inc.