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Meat Production from Wild Kangaroo: The Species, Industry, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality Traits

  • Nicole B. SpiegelEmail author
  • Paul L. Greenwood
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the kangaroo meat supply chain, from species to industry, including markets, nutritional value, and other aspects of meat quality such as field harvesting, post-slaughter processes, sensory attributes and carcass hygiene. Kangaroo meat is obtained from wild animals, with Australia’s kangaroo meat industry based on legislated, regulated harvest of the abundant kangaroo species. Kangaroo meat can be classified as a game meat, bushmeat, and/or a free-range product, and there is increasing interest in kangaroo for human consumption across the globe. The carcass of the kangaroo has a high dressing percentage (>60%) and lean red meat yield. Of its low meat fat content (<2%), there is a high proportion of polyunsaturated fats including high levels of conjugated linoleic acid. Kangaroo meat has eating quality attributes comparable to beef and sheep. Initial sensory investigations have demonstrated an opportunity for the industry to implement their own product grading scheme. These initial studies have shown that kangaroo meat, overall, is a ‘good everyday’ product. However, there is scope to build on earlier research to better manage meat quality. Meat tenderness, for instance, is highly variable in kangaroo, although identification of post-slaughter effects helps predict this variability. Likewise, developments in carcass handling techniques and chilling regimes can enable improved management of meat tenderness. Examples include “tenderstretch”, optimized muscle temperature at rigor, and ageing of boned kangaroo meat. Flavour has also been shown to be strongly associated with consumer liking of kangaroo meat. Scope exists to characterize kangaroo meat flavour components. Given that kangaroo meat is sourced from wild animals shot in the field, many challenges exist for the industry, notably standardization of carcass handling and storage conditions prior to boning. Optimizing eating quality attributes such as tenderness, through innovation in field slaughtering processes will only help to augment food safety standards. Minimal microbial contamination of carcasses remains of paramount importance for consumer confidence and viability of the industry, as does monitoring of animal health and diseases, particularly for zoonotic diseases that require close attention by government inspection services.

Keywords

Kangaroo Meat quality Game meat Bushmeat Alternative protein Free-range 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Government, Agri-Science, Department of Agriculture and FisheriesCharters TowersAustralia
  2. 2.NSW Department of Primary Industries, Armidale Livestock Industries CentreUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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