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J Anim Sci. 1997 Oct;75(10):2634-40.

Vitamin E supplementation of cattle and shelf-life of beef for the Japanese market.

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Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


Feeder steers (n = 84) were stratified into four weight groups to provide slaughter groups so that product that had been in vacuum packages at 0 to 2 degrees C for 40, 60, 80, or 100 d postmortem could be simultaneously evaluated. Each of the four groups was randomly divided into three subgroups so that vitamin E could be supplemented in the diet at rates of 0, 1,000, or 2,000 (E0, E1000, and E2000, respectively) IU.steer-1.d-1 for 100 d. After slaughtering, chilling, and fabricating, one ribeye-roll and one strip loin from each carcass was transported to the university laboratory for analyses, whereas the paired subprimals were transported to Japan. Based on metmyoglobin formation and lipid oxidation, strip loin steaks deteriorated at a faster rate during retail-display than did ribeye steaks. Steaks from subprimals that were stored for 100 d had inferior (P < .05) retail-display characteristics and a shorter (P < .05) caselife than steaks from the other storage periods. alpha-Tocopherol levels in longissimus muscle were lower (P < .05) for E0 than for E1000 and E2000 (3.51, 5.54, and 6.10 micrograms/g of tissue, respectively). Supplementing cattle with vitamin E resulted in steaks that exhibited superior lean color, less surface discoloration, more desirable overall appearance, and less lipid oxidation during retail display than control steaks; minimal differences were observed between E1000 and E2000 steaks. Steaks from cattle supplemented with vitamin E were preferred over control steaks by 91% of Japanese survey participants (n = 10,941), and 58% of all participants identified muscle color as the most important factor in selecting beef products.

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