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J Anim Sci. 2013 Feb;91(2):1005-14. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-5785. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

National Beef Tenderness Survey-2010: Warner-Bratzler shear force values and sensory panel ratings for beef steaks from United States retail and food service establishments.

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Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-2471, USA.


The tenderness and palatability of retail and food service beef steaks from across the United States (12 cities for retail, 5 cities for food service) were evaluated using Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) and consumer sensory panels. Subprimal postfabrication storage or aging times at retail establishments averaged 20.5 d with a range of 1 to 358 d, whereas postfabrication times at the food service level revealed an average time of 28.1 d with a range of 9 to 67 d. Approximately 64% of retail steaks were labeled with a packer/processor or store brand. For retail, top blade had among the lowest (P < 0.05) WBS values, whereas steaks from the round had the greatest (P < 0.05) values. There were no differences (P > 0.05) in WBS values between moist-heat and dry-heat cookery methods for the top round and bottom round steaks or between enhanced (contained salt or phosphate solution) or nonenhanced steaks. Food service top loin and rib eye steaks had the lowest (P < 0.05) WBS values compared with top sirloin steaks. Retail top blade steaks and food service top loin steaks received among the greatest (P < 0.05) consumer sensory panel ratings compared with the other steaks evaluated. Prime food service rib eye steaks received the greatest ratings (P < 0.05) for overall like, like tenderness, tenderness level, like juiciness, and juiciness level, whereas ungraded rib eye steaks received the lowest ratings (P < 0.05) for like tenderness and tenderness level. The WBS values for food service steaks were greater (P < 0.05) for the Select and ungraded groups compared with the Prime, Top Choice, and Low Choice groups. The WBS values and sensory ratings were comparable to the last survey, signifying that no recent or substantive changes in tenderness have occurred.

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