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Effect of age on sensory scores of Australian sheep meat

Pannier, L., Gardner, G.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-7499-9986, Ball, A.J. and Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 (2014) Effect of age on sensory scores of Australian sheep meat. In: 65th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production, 25 - 28 August, Copenhagen, Denmark.


In addition to nutritional attributes and lean meat, eating quality is a key driver influencing the consumer demand for sheep meat. It is generally believed that meat from older animals reduces the overall consumer acceptance of meat products, however there are limited sensory studies available to define these differences within untrained consumers, or to identify factors that affect them. A lamb versus hogget comparison study was conducted, which was part of a larger sens01y experiment within the Information Nucleus program of the CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation. This study tested genetic and non-genetic factors, and objective meat quality traits on sensory scores. We hypothesised that hogget meat will have lower sensory scores compared to lamb meat. Sensory scores were generated on the longissimus thoracis et lumborum (loin) and semimembranosus (topside) muscle from 189 Merino lambs, average age 355 days, and 209 Merino hoggets, average age 685 days. Five day aged grilled steaks were tasted and scored (1-100 score) by untrained consumers for tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall liking. The difference in magnitude of sensory scores of the topside was greater than for the loin. Lamb topside had 8.4, 7.0, 3.3 and 5.8 more sensory scores for tenderness, overall liking, juiciness and flavour than hogget topside samples, whereas the lamb loin had only 4.7, 2.7, 1.6 and 2.2 more sensory scores for tenderness, overall liking, juiciness and flavour than hogget loin samples (P<0.01). Within each age group loins were more acceptable than topsides. In support of our hypothesis, older sheep had reduced sensory scores however these differences were minimal for the loin. These preliminary results highlight the better eating quality of lambs but show an acceptable eating quality of hogget meat, particularly for the loin, which opens the possibility of developing a high quality hogget product.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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