Game meat expert receives recognition from American peers
Leading Stellenbosch University (SU) game meat expert Prof Louw Hoffman is the first South African to be recognised by the leading American Meat Science Association (AMSA) with its International Lectureship Award.
As part of the award, this researcher from the Department of Animal Sciences in the SU Faculty of AgriSciences will present the International Lecture Address at the Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC). This annual meeting of AMSA associates takes place for the 66th time from 16 to 19 June at Auburn University in Alabama (USA).
AMSA is regarded as the leading association of its kind in the world. Its International Lectureship Award was established in 1992 to honor an individual for “internationally recognized contributions to the field of meat science and technology, and active leadership and promotion of international activities that foster cooperation and open communication, and the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of society through meat science and technology”.
Prof Hoffman’s presentation will focus on ways in which game producers can meet international hygiene and food safety requirements even though they are doing their hunting in the bush. He will illustrate how South Africans and Namibians have risen to the challenge to meet the strict international phytosanitary regulations in areas where limited resources are available. He will be quoting from research by four of his PhD students and a number of recent MSc students who have studied the formal and informal game meat value chain. Recommendations based on this research are to be included in regulations to be published by the Minister of Health in the near future.
On his choice of topic, Prof Hoffman says it’s important to show the international community that we are able to produce safe game meat. This is of particular importance as the USA is interested in importing game meat similar to what is already done by European Union countries.
Prof Hoffman is the only scientist in the world who conducts research on the quality of African game meat, and focuses almost exclusively on meat species unique to South Africa.
Prof Hoffman’s research career started off in aquaculture with the study of the quality of freshwater fish and aquaculture production systems. Since 2000, he has focused on factors that influence the quality of fresh meat from African game meat species such as ostrich, kudu, warthog and crocodile, and wildfowl such as Egyptian geese and guinea fowl.
“Along with my research team we consider every facet of fresh meat production, from ‘the gate to the plate’ so to speak,” adds Prof Hoffman, who is regarded as the world’s eminent game meat researcher.
He is quick to note that although his research topics are very South African in focus his endeavours have broad international implications thanks to the increased export of game meat to Europe and other countries.
“Game meat is becoming increasingly popular among consumers who are seeking healthier, leaner red meat alternatives with distinctive sensory characteristics,” explains this incumbent of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Meat Sciences: Genomics to Nutrinomics, which will be hosted jointly by Stellenbosch University and the University of Fort Hare.
“The consumption of exotic species will likely continue to grow both domestically and abroad, and research that provides reassurance of the nutritional value, safety, quality and authenticity of such species are becoming increasingly important to sustain this growth,” adds Prof. Hoffman, who has on numerous occasions delivered presentations at the annual International Meat Science Conference (ICoMST), and presented two plenary papers on ostrich meat at World Ratite Congresses.