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Determinants and testing of meat quality - Essay Example

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The Determinants of Meat Quality and Quality Testing in Australia BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE DATE HERE Introduction The process of determining and testing meat quality in Australia is a sophisticated and scientific approach involving blended qualitative and quantitative measures…
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Determinants and testing of meat quality

Download file to see previous pages... The determinants of quality for beef and lamb in Australia include texture, colour, flavour, marbling, nutrition variables and juiciness. All of these factors maintain radically different methodologies for ensuring that a quality meat product is placed into the retail supply chain. Scientific and qualitative studies contribute greatly to the process of improving operating standards for slaughter, processing and quality evaluation in the Australian meats industry. Determinants of Quality Meat Standards Australia (MSA) was established in the nation to take the guesswork out of quality meat purchasing options for Australian consumers related to beef and lamb. Supported by the Food Science Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia, the scientific community and over 600,000 samples tested by actual Australian consumers (MLA 2012), the MSA established a grading system that informs consumers of the juiciness, texture, and tenderness that should be expected by certain grades of lamb and beef. This system is the driving catalyst for the variety of experiments and sampling that occurs to ensure quality both pre-slaughter and after processing of animal carcasses. The establishment of the Meat Standards Australia grading system, as it pertains to consumer purchases of beef and lamb, also maintains a colour gradient chart to assist in making quality purchase decisions. One of the most fundamental scientific methods of determining meat quality is the pH test, which maintains several different scientific methodologies for testing. An industry norm was established in the 1970s, still used today, that has determined the most viable pH for optimum meat quality. The pH standard is 5.5, the optimal acidic range before texture and tenderness become negatively affected (Seideman et al. 1986). This is measured by considering meat proteins’ isoelectric point, where a pH of higher than 5.5 “results in an open structured muscle and a greater diffusion of light between the myofibrils of the muscle”, leading to a darker meat colour (Seideman et al 1986: 57). Darker hues of beef and lamb, on the consumer and commercial market, are unfavourable and generally lead to poor texture and considerable drop in tenderness ratios. The pH of lamb and beef is often measured pre-slaughter and post-slaughter, taking into consideration a variety of variables that contributed to the acidic nature of the meat. Such tests are conducted with traditional litmus testing, electrical measurement, or through chemical manipulation in a variety of laboratory testings. Temperature control variables are considered critical factors in producing effective and quality meat products. One pH test, referred to as electrical stimulation (ES), is utilized to enhance meat tenderness. Generally conducted post-slaughter, the carcass is exposed to varying levels of electrical stimulation to promote muscular contraction prior to the natural rigor mortis processes. It is common practice in the beef and lamb slaughtering and processing industry to fast chill meats upon slaughtering to prevent meat degradation that occurs during rigor mortis. To improve pH levels and also assist in preservation, electrical stimulation expedites the process of degradation within myofibrillar and cytoskeletal proteins (Hwang et al. 2003), which naturally occurs during elongated decomposition of the carcass in a natural environment. ES stimulates immediate muscular contractions, and protein degradation, thus allowing for rapid chilling or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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