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Defining and quantifying some on-farm factors influencing sheepmeat eating quality

Pethick, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677, Baud, S., Walker, P., Thompson, J., Hopkins, D. and Skerritt, J. (2002) Defining and quantifying some on-farm factors influencing sheepmeat eating quality. International Journal of Sheep and Wool Science, 50 (4). pp. 608-614.

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This paper summarises some of the research and development being undertaken as part of Meat and Livestock Australia's Sheepmeat Eating Quality Program. Some of the main outcomes of the research are outlined: • A system for describing the consumer-defined eating quality of sheep meat is described where the sensory attributes of the cooked meat are defined on a scale of 0 to 100. • Studies over a broad range of sheep ages have shown that loin tenderness declines with increasing animal age in a predictable way but liking of flavour is less affected by age, resulting in acceptable consumer scores even for older sheep (mutton) when cuts are denuded of fat. The difference between carryover lamb and mutton for overall consumer scores is about 8 to 10 points. • The effects of animal age on sensory ratings are significant in the sucker lamb ® carryover lamb ® hogget transition. Suckers lambs have a superior consumer score with little difference between carryover lamb and hogget (for loin and outside cuts). However, loin meat from hoggets was consistently darker due to an increased content of myoglobin (the major muscle pigment). • Finishing lambs on actively growing pasture (legume/grass based) versus balanced grain-based rations did not affect consumer score of grilled denuded loins. That is, grass-finished eating quality = grain-finished eating quality. • Allowing finished lambs to lose weight for 2 weeks prior to slaughter resulted in meat with reduced muscle glycogen, increased pHu and reduced consumer scores for juiciness and liking of flavour.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: University of New England
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