U.S. beef exports to Egypt are on the rise, thanks to a new shelf-life study conducted in part by Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Science.
Colorado State, partnering with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, researched the effects of frozen storage on color, flavor, protein, quality and safety of U.S. beef livers, hearts and kidneys. With the strong support of USDA, the results of this study prompted Egypt to ease its restrictions on shelf life of U.S. beef products, providing U.S. exporters with more flexibility.
The study determined there were harmless amounts of protein degradation, lipid oxidation and overall rancidity of frozen livers, hearts and kidneys stored up to 320 days – or almost 10 months.
Colorado State scientists Keith Belk and John Scanga, along with USMEF and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service personnel, presented the study and results to the Egyptian government in November 2005. Based on the report’s findings, Egypt changed in May 2006 the shelf-life requirements for hearts and kidneys to seven months from four months. Egypt also removed requirements that the product had to reach the country with 50 percent of its shelf life remaining and that the product had to be shipped within two months of production.
Statistics reported through the first three months of this year show U.S. beef variety meat exports to Egypt increased 48 percent from the same period last year to 20,718 metric tons, valued at $17.4 million. Of that total, U.S. beef livers increased 52 percent to 19,556 metric tons, while kidneys and hearts have increased from zero in the first three months last year to 1,000 metric tons of kidneys and 167 metric tons of hearts this year. USMEF correlated this increase as a direct result of the extended shelf requirement.