• Development of a novel bulk packaging system for retail cuts of meat

      Allen, Paul; Doherty, Alice M.; Isdell, Emer (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Meat colour is an important criterion in the appeal of meat to consumers at the point of sale. The bright red colour of fresh beef and lamb and the pinkish colour of fresh pork are due to the oxygenation of the myoglobin pigment when the meat is exposed to air. However, exposure to air over several days causes irreversible browning and rejection of the meat by consumers. The gaseous environment in which retail cuts are stored is therefore critical to ensure a good colour over the display life. Existing packaging systems do not have a sufficiently long storage life for the additional time required for exports from Ireland to the UK or continental Europe. The objective of this project was to develop a bulk packaging system for retail cuts that would have a sufficient shelf life to be used by the Irish industry to export retail ready cuts. In conclusion, a packaging system has been developed on a laboratory scale which is capable of extending the storage life of some beef cuts, lamb loin chops and pork loin chops. The display life of these after storage is comparable to fresh cuts. In order for this system to be commercialised it would have to be shown to work on a larger scale in a production environment.
    • Enhancement of pigmeat quality by altering pre-slaughter management

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Mullane, J.; Kerry, Joseph P.; Hogan, Sean; Allen, Paul (Teagasc, 25/10/2005)
      The studies presented in this report were conducted to investigate the effect of breed, slaughter weight, castration of male pigs and strategic feeding strategies on the performance of pigs to slaughter and on their carcass quality. The effect of breed, gender and feeding regimen on the performance of pigs and their carcass quality was examined in the first study (Section 3). From weaning to slaughter Landrace-sired pigs grew at a similar rate but had a better feed conversion efficiency compared with Duroc-sired pigs. Landrace-sired pigs also had a higher carcass lean and greater muscle depth than Duroc-sired pigs. Entire male pigs grew more efficiently, had lower lean content in their carcasses and had a reduced kill out yield when compared with gilts. The eye muscle depth was greater for gilts than entire males. Diluting the diet with grass-meal (GM) reduced growth rate, caused a deterioration in feed conversion efficiency, reduced back fat thickness, reduced eye muscle thickness and reduced kill out yield compared to the control feeding regimen of a cereal based diet. Compensatory growth was observed during a re-alimentation period following a period of diet dilution with grass-meal. However, where it did occur, in most cases it was only partial. Adding 5% rapeseed oil instead of lard to the finisher diet increased nitrogen utilization efficiency and phosphorous utilization efficiency. The effect of gender (boar, castrate, gilt) and slaughter weight (80 to 120kg) on pig performance, carcass quality, meat quality, and nitrogen excretion was investigated in the second study (Section 4). Boars grew faster than gilts and more efficiently than castrates or gilts. Castrates had a higher kill out yield than boars. Nitrogen excretion from castrates was similar to gilts which were both higher than that from boars. The processing value of carcasses from castrates may be higher than that of boars and gilts. In particular castrates had heavier loins and bellies than either boars or gilts. Carcasses from castrates and gilts had a higher temperature (recorded 24 hours post slaughter) than boars. However, pH24 was not affected by gender. The intramuscular fat content of the l. dorsi in castrates was higher than that of boars or gilts, however at 1.65% this was well below the level (2.0%) above which any noticeable sensory attributes might be detected. Feed intake increased with increasing slaughter weight and feed conversion efficiency deteriorated. N excretion also increased with each increment in weight. Carcass lean content increased up to 90kg live EOP 4939.doc 4 25/10/2005 weight then reached a plateau and declined after 110kg live weight. Heavier carcasses yielded more product for approximately the same slaughtering cost and the associated larger muscles could make it easier to use seam butchery techniques that result in lean, well-trimmed, attractive cuts and joints. The pH45 and pH24 were reduced with increasing slaughter weight and drip loss increased. Heavier pigs may be more prone to the development of PSE than lighter pigs as their carcass temperature remains higher for longer than that of lighter pigs.
    • Measuring the lean content of carcasses using TOBEC

      Allen, Paul; McGeehin, Brian (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project examined the potential of two objective methods of measuring the lean and fat content of meat carcasses and cuts. Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) are both based on the different conductivity of lean and fat tissues. TOBEC measures the absorption by a carcass or cut of electrical energy from an electromagnetic field whereas BIA measures the resistance to the flow of an electrical current. TOBEC is a large and relatively expensive piece of equipment that is fully automated. BIA is small and relatively low cost but requires an operator.
    • Mechanical Grading of beef carcasses

      Allen, Paul; Finnerty, Nicholas; European Union; European Union (Teagasc, 2001-10)
      Three beef carcass classification systems that use Video Image Analysis (VIA) technology were tested in two trials at Dawn Meats Midleton, Co. Cork. The VIA systems were BCC2, manufactured by SFK Technology, Denmark, VBS2000, manufactured by E+V, Germany, and VIAscan, manufactured by Meat and Livestock Australia. The first trial, conducted over a 6-week period in July/August 1999, calibrated the VIA systems on a large sample of carcasses and validated these calibrations on a further sample obtained at the same time. The second trial, conducted in the first two weeks of March 2000, was a further validation trial. The reference classification scores were determined by a panel of three experienced classifiers using the EUROP grid with 15 subclasses for conformation class and 15 sub-classes for fat. In the first trial the accuracy of the VIA systems at predicting saleable meat yield in steer carcasses was also assessed.
    • New technologies in the manufacture of low fat meat products

      Allen, Paul; Dreeling, Niamh; Desmond, Eoin; Hughes, Eimear; Mullen, Anne Maria; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      The objective of this project was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of low fat meat products. The emphasis was placed on identifying the barriers to producing high quality, low fat meat products and providing a knowledge base for manufacturers to overcome these, rather than actually developing new products. Each partner had specific tasks and worked with traditional products of their country. A wide range of products was thereby studied including comminuted, emulsion, cured and dried fermented, so that the results are widely applicable.
    • Reducing the incidence of boar taint in Irish pigs

      Allen, Paul; Joseph, Robin; Lynch, Brendan (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      Boar taint is an unpleasant odour that is released during cooking from some pork and products made from the meat and fat of non-castrated male pigs. Only a proportion of boars produce this odour and not all consumers are sensitive to it. Nevertheless it is a potential problem for the industry since an unpleasant experience can mean that a sensitive consumer may not purchase pork or pork products again. Some European countries are very concerned about this problem and most castrate all the male pigs not required for breeding. Irish pig producers ceased castration more than 20 years ago because boars are more efficient converters of feed into lean meat and a research study had shown that boar taint was not a problem at the carcass weights used in this country at that time.
    • Using ultrasound to measure beef tenderness and fat content

      Allen, Paul; Dwyer, Catherine; Mullen, Anne Maria; Buckin, Vitaly; Smyth, Cormac; Morrissey, Siobhan (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      A new acoustical technique was developed for the quantitative analysis of the texture and composition of meat and meat products. This new approach exploits the fact that the acoustical velocity and attenuation of waves propagated through meat are affected by its mechanical properties, thus allowing characterisation in terms of its composition and eating quality. The method is based on a new high-resolution ultrasonic resonator. This technique is rapid and uses small samples. Procedures for the acoustical analysis of meat were developed and the results were correlated with taste panel and shear force measurements of meat tenderness.