Eric P. Berg University of Missouri

Resources Authored

Videos

Promoting the Importance of Pork Quality

Publish Date: 06/20/2018

Pork quality is important to consumers and the meat and grocery markets. In this video, you will see exactly what are the pork quality attributes and the industry's stride to improve quality to meet consumers demand. This video includes and overview of the numerous factors that attribute to pork quality and how to measure the attributes.


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References

Swine lean growth and pork quality evaluation trials

Publish Date: 09/18/2006

Purdue University 1996 Swine Research Report. To remain competitive, pork producers must efficiently produce the quality lean pork that consumers demand. Lean growth rate, lean efficiency (the pounds of feed per pound of lean), and total production dollar cost per pound of lean are the important traits for the future. Lean growth trials conducted in the late 1980's at Purdue University and the University of Kentucky, indicated that large amounts of variation exist between different genetic populations or genotypes of pigs. In the early 1990's, new seedstock were imported from Canada and Europe resulting in additional genetic choices.


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References

The effect of alpha lipoic acid on shelf life and Warner/Bratzler shear force values associated with fresh pork.

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Alpha-Lipoic acid (ALA) is a naturally occurring compound present in all tissues of the body. It is naturally found in leaves of plants that contain mitochondria and in non-photosynthetic plant tissues such as roots and tubers; however, red meat possesses the highest concentration of naturally occurring LA. Lipoic acid has gained popularity as a human dietary supplement due to its unique antioxidant capabilities, ability to improve the function of insulin (enhanced glucose clearance), and its ability to improve mitochondrial energy metabolism.


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References

Evaluation of Procedures to Predict Fat-free Lean in Pork Carcasses

Publish Date: 06/04/2006

Marketing is a major challenge for pork producers. In most markets, carcass weight and predicted amount of fat-free lean in the carcass are used to determine value. Lean is usually predicted from measures of carcass weight, backfat and longissimus muscle area or muscle depth. However, procedures to measure these traits vary greatly among packers. Optimum…


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Factsheets

Critical Points Affecting Fresh Pork Quality within the Packing Plant

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Postmortem metabolism of porcine muscle is more rapid than beef or lamb (Marsh et al. 1972). Metabolism of intramuscular glycogen plays the primary role in the conversion of muscle to meat and the expression of different quality attributes of fresh pork. The two most common quality concerns with fresh pork are pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) and dark, firm, and dry (DFD) lean, with PSE being much more economically important than DFD. Both are a result of postmortem glycogen metabolism. The level and extent of postmortem pH decline is glycogen dependent as anaerobic conversion of glycogen to lactic acid results in the achievement of an acceptable (or unacceptable) meat pH. The PSE condition occurs when intramuscular lactic acid (localized lactidosis) accumulates very rapidly (<1h) while the carcass temperature is still high. The initiation of glycolysis could be attributed to many things: 1) genetic predisposition (porcine stress syndrome); 2) elevated metabolism or if a pig is prone to a high excitability (Grandin, 1994); 3) pre-slaughter stress; and/or 4) combinations of all of these. Activation of the glycolytic system just prior to exsanguination leads to the production of heat which will elevate the pigs body temperature. Pearson (1987) wrote that the ultimate condition of pork muscle is influenced by skeletal muscle pH drop as a function of time, in vivo temperature patterns, carcass chilling rate, and the conditions at the onset of rigor mortis. The rate of postmortem pH decline is approximately three times faster in carcasses that ultimately produce PSE meat, regardless of presence or absence of the stress gene (Mitchell and Heffron, 1982). This rapid pH drop while the carcass temperature is above 37C leads to denaturation of myofibrillar proteins that bind water (Penny, 1969).


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Resources Reviewed

Factsheets

Nutritional Effects on Pork Quality in Swine Production

Publish Date: 08/26/2015

A number of factors affect pork quality, with swine genetics, preslaughter handling, harvest, and pork carcass chilling having the greatest impacts. However, there is considerable evidence indicating that manipulating the nutrient composition of swine diets may offset the negative effects of genetic predisposition and/or pig handling on pork quality, and may actually enhance pork quality traits of well-handled pigs of good quality genotypes. Pork quality traditionally refers to the measurement of muscle pH, color, firmness, marbling or intramuscular fat (IMF) content, shelf-life, and cooked pork palatability. Yet, domestic and international consumers may define pork quality in terms associated with environmental, ethical, and animal welfare aspects of pork production, whereas pork processors typically include fat color, firmness, and composition, as well as nutrient composition and microbiological safety in their definition of pork quality. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the effects of dietary modifications on: 1) postmortem muscle metabolism and technological quality attributes (i.e., pH, color, and water-holding capacity); 2) pork IMF content; 3) pork fat quality; 4) color and lipid stability during refrigerated storage/display; and 5) cooked pork palatability.


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Factsheets

Feed Withdrawal Prior to Slaughter: Effects on Pork Quality and Safety

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Increasing muscle pH and improving fresh pork quality are objectives of the pork industry. Factors at all stages of production can contribute to fresh pork quality and sensory characteristics. Pre-slaughter handling is an area that has been targeted to improve pork quality. The effects of feed withdrawal prior to slaughter have been evaluated utilizing a wide range of approaches. Early research focused on economically important losses that occurred when pigs were marketed on a live weight basis and animals were off feed during extended transport or lairage. Feed withdrawal before slaughter has been evaluated recently because it can potentially improve pork quality by increasing ultimate pH, increasing water holding capacity, improving color and reducing the incidence of PSE pork. However, there are potential deleterious effects of feed withdrawal on live weight, carcass weight, liver characteristics, and stomach ulcers.


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Factsheets

Procedures for Estimating Pork Carcass Composition

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Pork carcass merit is one of three general factors affecting the profitability of the pork industry. Reproductive traits and growth performance are economic keys to the profitability and health of the pork industry, yet carcass value also plays an important role. Most packers recognize differences in carcass product value by paying for desired carcass weight, and lean percentage or grade.


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