Rapid Methods to Predict Lean Quality Attributes in Pork

University of Nebraska 2005 Swine Day Report. Meat quality has a significant impact on the value of pork. This research was conducted to determine if measures taken within the first 24 hours after harvest could be used to predict final meat quality in the domestic and export market. Measurements of loin pH, electrical impedance, and light reflectance were taken at the last rib 22 hours postmortem on 604 pigs in a commercial meat plant. One loin from each carcass was stored for 21 or 42 days to simulate domestic or export handling and shipping. At the conclusion of the storage time, pork color and loin purge were assessed. Measures taken within a day of slaughter were used to construct prediction equations for ultimate color and purge in domestic and export product. Color (L*, a measure of lightness) was determined using a colorimeter and purge was defined as the percentage of boneless loin weight found as free liquid in the vacuum package after storage. Prediction equations explained only 21% and 12% of the variation in percent purge for domestic and export product, respectively, and 29% and 44%, respectively, of the variation in L*. Electrical impedance and light reflectance were of limited value in predicting pork quality within narrow quality classes when the measurements were made on cold carcasses.