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J Anim Sci. 2000 Oct;78(10):2595-607.

Using measurements of muscle color, pH, and electrical impedance to augment the current USDA beef quality grading standards and improve the accuracy and precision of sorting carcasses into palatability groups.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1095, USA. duane_wulf@sdstate.edu

Abstract

This research was conducted to determine whether objective measures of muscle color, muscle pH, and(or) electrical impedance are useful in segregating palatable beef from unpalatable beef, and to determine whether the current USDA quality grading standards for beef carcasses could be revised to improve their effectiveness at distinguishing palatable from unpalatable beef. One hundred beef carcasses were selected from packing plants in Texas, Illinois, and Ohio to represent the full range of muscle color observed in the U.S. beef carcass population. Steaks from these 100 carcasses were used to determine shear force on eight cooked beef muscles and taste panel ratings on three cooked beef muscles. It was discovered that the darkest-colored 20 to 25% of the beef carcasses sampled were less palatable and considerably less consistent than the other 75 to 80% sampled. Marbling score, by itself, explained 12% of the variation in beef palatability; hump height, by itself, explained 8% of the variation in beef palatability; measures of muscle color or pH, by themselves, explained 15 to 23% of the variation in beef palatability. When combined together, marbling score, hump height, and some measure of muscle color or pH explained 36 to 46% of the variation in beef palatability. Alternative quality grading systems were proposed to improve the accuracy and precision of sorting carcasses into palatability groups. The two proposed grading systems decreased palatability variation by 29% and 39%, respectively, within the Choice grade and decreased palatability variation by 37% and 12%, respectively, within the Select grade, when compared with current USDA standards. The percentage of unpalatable Choice carcasses was reduced from 14% under the current USDA grading standards to 4% and 1%, respectively, for the two proposed systems. The percentage of unpalatable Select carcasses was reduced from 36% under the current USDA standards to 7% and 29%, respectively, for the proposed systems. These grading systems, which included requirements for maturity, marbling, hump height, and colorimeter readings, could be implemented into the current USDA beef quality grading standards and improve the accuracy and precision of sorting beef carcasses into palatability groups. At the least, measurements of muscle color or pH could be used in a branded-beef program to increase the palatability consistency of its beef products.

PMID:
11048925
DOI:
10.2527/2000.78102595x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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