U.S. beef exports to Egypt are on the rise, thanks to a new shelf-life study conducted in part by the Colorado State University's Department of Animal Science.
CSU, 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 strong U.S. Department of Agriculture support, the results of this study prompted Egypt to ease its restrictions on shelf life of U.S. beef products, providing exporters with more flexibility.
The study determined that there were harmless amounts of protein degradation, lipid oxidation and overall rancidity of frozen livers, hearts and kidneys stored up to 320 days.
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. Based on the report findings, Egypt changed shelf-life requirements for hearts and kidneys from four to seven months. Egypt also removed requirements that the product had to reach the country with 50% of its shelf life remaining and that the product had to be shipped within two months of production.
Export statistics reported through the first three months of 2007 show U.S. variety meats such as those mentioned above increased nearly 50% from last year, posting a total value of $17.4 million. Of that, U.S. beef livers increased 52%, and kidneys increased from zero to 1,000 metric tons. USMEF correlates these increases with the shelf life study.