Ways to ensure that pork tastes good have been debated at an international conference in Germany November 18.

Under the title "Improving the quality of pork for the consumer," the conference in Bonn hosted about 220 meat industry specialists and researchers from 23 countries to discuss topics around the entire pork producing chain.

It was hosted by the foodnetcenter of the University of Bonn and GIQS (Grenzüberschreitende Integrierte Qualitätssicherung e.V.), in association with the international project Q-PorkChains, which is funded by the EU 7th Framework Program.

Q-PorkChains has a budget of 20.73 million Euros, making it the largest research project in the field of meat science currently financed by the EU Commission. Professor Anders Karlsson of the University of Copenhagen is coordinating the project. One project partner is the University of Bonn.

Prof. Brigitte Petersen from the university pointed out one possibility for pork quality improvement is to define biological markers that allow the detection of immunological stress (related to the health of the animals) as well as environmental stress. The well being of the animals can be augmented by a better heath status, she commented. Data of health risks can support the pork industry to produce healthier and more productive pigs. These activities, in turn, offer consumers high-quality meat and better food security.

GIQS coordinates the implementation of the results into practice. The objective is to facilitate cooperation with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on pilot and demonstration activities and to develop inter-organizational collaboration along pork production chains and networks.

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Maren Bruns, project manager of GIQS, reported four additional pilot ventures and two new demonstration chains have been implemented recently in the project.