Brian Bidner University of Illinois

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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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