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New publication outlines techniques to optimise meat quality

By Jane Byrne , 16-Dec-2008
Last updated on 16-Dec-2008 at 16:30 GMT

A newly released publication, targeted at the meat production sector, evaluates the latest production and processing strategies to help ensure better meat quality.

In spite of the considerable resources that have been expended on meat quality research, the ability of the industry to consistently deliver meat of a uniform consistency cannot be guaranteed, according to a new title Improving the sensory and nutritional quality of fresh meat.

The editors of the publication said that, in recent years, the understanding of the scientific basis of the quality attributes of meat has become more detailed, providing new approaches to the control of eating and technological quality: “This book attempts to bring together current views, from distinguished scientists from a wide range of disciplines, on this complex area.”

Many factors affect meat properties, including the breed of the animal and its genetic make-up, the way animals are fed, managed and slaughtered, and the way carcasses are handled and processed post-slaughter.

The book includes 25 chapters with sections on texture, tenderness, colour and water-hold capacity of meats, claims the publisher.

Future trends

Sarah Whitworth, commissioning editor at the UK-based Woodhead Publishing told FoodProductionDaily.com that the publication also analyses future trends in terms of optimization of meat quality.

She said that the authors assessed the application of new knowledge obtained from studies of the genome and proteome in relation to meat quality to improve traditional breeding programmes, produce diagnostic tests for meat quality and develop more effective management systems for meat quality.

According to Whitworth, the authors also address the use of non-invasive methods such as NIR and NMR to predict tenderness of meat shortly after slaughter so that processors can guarantee the tenderness of meat sold to consumers.

She said that other developments evaluated in the book include the use of information about the traits of each individual muscle in meat-producing animals to develop new, muscle-specific, consumer-friendly products.

Animal rearing

The authors, continued Whitworth, also looked at the practice of rearing animals on diets enriched with n-3 fatty acids and plant antioxidants to increase the content of these fatty acids in the meat, while at the same time maintaining meat sensory quality and shelf-life.

Another focus of the new publication, she said, is the technique of super (deep) chilling to increase the ‘chilled’ storage life of meat so that peaks and troughs in production can be overcome.

Whitworth added that the publication also includes a section on the development of more reliable methods to measure meat composition on-line, and attempts a better understanding of the effects of transport and stunning methods on animal welfare and meat quality.

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