Challenges in agri-food chain: Biosensors in the meat production system
The complexity of the meat chain is well-known, beginning with the Pre-harvest (feed, farm biosecurity, herd/flock health status, animal welfare, transportation, livestock market/abattoir lairage), followed by Harvest (slaughter, dressing, chilling) and Post-harvest (deboning, meat processing, packaging, distribution, retail, consumer) modules.
Over the previous decade, consumer awareness increased globally towards animal health, animal welfare and food safety issues, including food quality, food fraud, sustainability and climate change impact on meat production. Therefore, consumers demand proper and accurate information on the aforementioned issues in real time for making informed choices when buying their preferred meat/meat products. The transformation of traditional meat value chains towards sustainability needs reliable and affordable tools to optimize such transformation and achieve higher levels of food safety. Sensing systems (biosensors) and their regular use within an integrated meat production chain, from farm-to-fork, can play an important role and be a part of the solution for climate-smart and sustainable agri-food chain considering biosensor function in early and accurate detection of food(meat)-borne pathogens and other food contaminants (residues). The application of biosensors can provide accurate and concentrated data on animal health and welfare, including food borne hazards, to support food safety risk assessment in both, `traditional` and `novel` (cell-based meat) meat value chains for the benefit of the global population.