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Preliminary assessment of the Meat Image Japan (MIJ) beef grading smartphone application as it compares to a current USDA validated beef grading camera vision system.

J.M. Lancaster, M.J. Colle, B.S. Epperson, J.H. Smart, K.F. Oliver, A. Kano, Y. Sakaguchi, K. Kuchida, D. Cicale, and P.D. Bass

ABSTRACT:

Camera vision beef grading systems can be cost prohibitive to smaller beef processers which results in limited advanced technology grading capabilities. The objective of this study was to compare an alternative beef carcass grading technology with a commercially available USDA approved beef grading camera (VBG2000, E+V Technology). Beef carcasses (n = 910), representing marbling standards from USDA Select, Choice, and Prime in youthful, commercially raised beef cattle, served as the experimental units. All beef carcasses utilized were evaluated in a large-scale commercial beef harvesting facility and assessed on-line in the grading cooler. Data were collected using the MIJ beef grading application software and camera cradle accessory lighting kit with a Google Pixel 4 XL platform.  The MIJ camera data was collected in unison with that of a commercially available, USDA approved, on-line instrument grading technology (VBG2000, E+V Technology GmbH & Co. KG, Oranienburg, Germany).  Carcass grading information was analyzed using Pearson Correlation analyses. The marbling scores obtained by the MIJ camera observations had a strong correlation to the currently validated beef grading vision system (r = 0.84; P < 0.01). The ribeye areas of the evaluated carcasses ranged from 61.87 cm2 to 127.55 cm2. The ribeye areas observed by the MIJ camera were moderately correlated to the currently validated beef grading vision system. (r = 0.74; P < 0.01).  The initial validation of an alternative beef grading system suggests an opportunity to pursue additional validation for further use in USDA processing facilities.  Ultimate utilization of the MIJ camera vision system will allow for more beef producers and processors to capture objective beef carcass data across a wider range of processing facilities. 

Objectives: Camera vision beef grading systems can be cost-prohibitive to smaller beef processers which results in limited advanced technology grading capabilities. The objective of this study was to compare an alternative beef carcass grading technology with a commercially available USDA approved beef grading camera (VBG2000, E+V Technology).  Materials and Methods: Beef carcasses (n = 910), representing marbling standards from USDA Select, Choice, and Prime in youthful, commercially raised beef cattle, served as the experimental units. All beef carcasses utilized were evaluated in a large-scale commercial beef harvesting facility and assessed online in the grading cooler. Data were collected using the MIJ beef grading application software and camera cradle accessory lighting kit with a Google Pixel 4 XL platform.  The MIJ camera data was collected in unison with that of a commercially available, USDA approved, on-line instrument grading technology (VBG2000, E+V Technology GmbH & Co. KG, Oranienburg, Germany).  Carcass grading information was analyzed using Pearson Correlation analyses.  

Results: The marbling scores obtained by the MIJ camera observations had a strong correlation to the currently validated beef grading vision system (r = 0.71; P < 0.01). The ribeye areas of the evaluated carcasses ranged from 61.87 cm2 to 127.55 cm2. The ribeye areas observed by the MIJ camera were moderately correlated to the currently validated beef grading vision system. (r = 0.56; P < 0.01).   

Conclusion: The initial validation of an alternative beef grading system suggests an opportunity to pursue additional validation for further use in USDA processing facilities.  Ultimate utilization of the MIJ camera vision system will allow for more beef producers and processors to capture objective beef carcass data across a wider range of processing facilities. 

Keywords: beef, camera grading, ribeye size