The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Just a simple revolution in red meat
- JU department propounds method to grade mutton by cholesterol, fat levels

Mutton is off your menu now, right' It’s high on the doctor’s list of don’t-eat items, right' It has too much cholesterol and fat and so chicken is where your culinary adventure ends, right' It’s time to serve up some food for thought to your doctor. The Jadavpur University (JU) food technology and bio-chemical engineering department has finished working on a method that will help fix the right amount of fat and cholesterol in your next munch of mutton.

What’s more, one can now preserve the amount of “redness” in the refrigerated — and, of course, colourless — meat dished out to reduce the risk of consumption. And the meat can be preserved with the help of spices, not lethal chemicals.

The food technology department’s recommendations have been okayed by the state food-processing department and forwarded to the Union ministry of agriculture for acceptance. “The method we have devised is going to revolutionise the way you and I eat ‘red meat’,” said Utpal Raychaudhuri, member of the JU food technology department. “This is only one of the areas in which Calcutta and West Bengal can cash in to give a fillip to its unorganised and small-scale sector. We have mentioned this in our project report,” he added.

The report, which the state food-processing department headed by Sailen Sarkar considers “impressive”, uses the Malaysian model as a precedent, say officers. “This Southeast Asian country, like us, depends a lot on its small-scale sector,” explained Raychaudhuri. This sector witnessed the maximum growth — as much as 17.4 per cent — there and the Malaysian model was worth emulating, he felt.

Bengal’s mutton (called “Black Bengal Goat” in the international market) is a high-demand category export-wise, say officials. The JU-devised technique can help the market here categorise the mutton in three parts — depending on the cholesterol and fat levels — and has “real potential” to become a hit, they say.

Most of the fat in mutton lies in the upper layer of the flesh (just below the skin). “This can be done away with very easily with the help of small, specially-designed cutting tools,” said Raychaudhuri said. “The more difficult part is the intra-muscular fat but this, too, can be discarded,” he added, explaining that the meat thus produced could be graded into three qualities (normal, medium-fat and low-fat).

The best part of the entire procedure is that it is simple enough to be used by the neighbourhood kasai. The red colour of the meat can also be preserved for days on end with the input of certain vitamins, and boost “large wholesalers and exporters”, said Raychaudhuri.

A Malaysian team, brought to Calcutta by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), came to the JU food technology department last year, officials disclosed. Other areas recommended for high growth in Calcutta include the indigenous shoe-making industry, the furniture sector and the small industrial machinery sector.

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