Objective measurements of carcass and meat quality.
Additional Document Info
Lost competitiveness and declining per capita consumption have forced US meat industry sectors to become consumer oriented and address issues related to quality shortfalls. Because industry goals for value and quality-based marketing are becoming a reality, interest in objective carcass evaluation methodology has escalated. Even so, no official instrument grading systems are in place. Research addressing use of A-mode, B-mode and real-time ultrasound technique indicated several distinct advantages: (1) it may be used in live animals; (2) it may be used on slaughter floors before hide removal; (3) with development, it may accurately predict traits related to palatability; (4) it offers no health hazards; (5) it would allow complete automation of grading and remove the element of human error; and (6) with development, it offers great compatability with integrated artificial neural networking technology. However, other systems are now available which may present alternatives. Electrical conductivity (TOBEC) effectively predicts pork carcass composition, and is now used commercially. Potential exists for similar systems in the beef industry. Other instruments (NMR, CAT, PET), with continued development, offer advantages in image resolution and accuracy, but are cost prohibitive at this time. Elastography, a new technique, offers exciting prospects for the future with its potential to predict tenderness.