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Some interesting facts which all contribute to meat quality!

Carcass Quality / On Farm Best Practice 

  • Good practice key – Injecting in neck areas rather than rump which holds more value, injection areas are susceptible to abscesses which must be removed from the food chain. 6% of cattle in the UK had abscesses which require additional work trimming resulting in meat yield loss.
  • 16% of cattle livers were rejected in 2015 due to liver fluke, liver fluke infected livers are binned as they are not fit for human consumption. Liver fluke not only has directly affects returns on offal sales for abattoirs it also has a direct effect on the animals daily live weight gain which makes the animal more cost inefficient on farm.
  • Carcass value can be reduced by pneumonia and pleurisy, it is important to keep on top of animal husbandry to ensure health issues do not impact on health and feed efficiency.
  • Clean cattle sent to slaughter have a dramatic measured reduction in micro-organisms which exist in the hide, cleaner cattle reduce the transfer of contamination onto the carcass.

Eating Quality

  • Of the three attributes to determine eating quality, texture, juiciness and flavour, tenderness is arguably the most important.
  • Important Facts Tenderness:
  • Age is key to tenderness, because as connective tissue matures it has more stable cross links, generally older animals are tougher.
  • Breed has little effect on tenderness
  • Cattle form breeds in hot climates are tougher than those from European breeds
  • Juiciness is related to water holding capacity and marbling of fat which stimulates saliva flow once liquefied.
  • Flavour is generated during cooking from water soluble components naturally present in meat as fat. Diet can effect flavour, grass fed animals produce a fat with a yellow tinge whilst grain fed produce a white fat.
  • Flavour can also be affected by the meat pH, meat should always be slightly acidic.

 

Next month we will issue more key information on the following subjects:

  1. Handling, Transport & Marketing
  2. Abattoir and processing factors