Post-slaughter treatments key to meat tenderness, Eblex says

Processors can maintain the optimum meat eating quality in beef and lamb through careful management of temperature and pH, as well as post-slaughter techniques, such as hip suspension and electrical stimulation, delegates at Eblex inaugural processor conference in Warwickshire were told yesterday.

Eblex’s head of research and development Kim Matthews presented an overview of the latest research, highlighting the key ways in which pre- and post-slaughter methods can be used to ensure good eating quality of beef and lamb and the effect of stress on meat eating quality. He highlighted the importance of animals’ response to handling, showing that calm post-transport behaviour returned lower sheer forces responses at testing, widely regarded as an indicator of greater meat tenderness.

Matthews shared recent research on post-slaughter treatment for enhancing mutton quality, saying that although hip suspension was not shown to have a significant effect on tenderness, high voltage electrical stimulation had a “marked effect”. Ageing meat to 14 days showed similar meat tenderness controls to those produced by electrical stimulation, but where these two treatments were combined, the result was much more tender meat.

In addition to the presentations on meat eating quality, Matthews also presented the findings from a recent Bristol University PhD on detecting and eliminating clostridium, an organism that can be found in red meat products, (primarily raw and vacuum-packed) and which is a major cause of meat spoilage.

Finally, he outlined Eblex’s commitment to helping processors by conducting plant review visits to identify how minor changes to the lairage, and advice on as chilling and pH managements could help to optimise eating quality, while Eblex marketing manager (Quality Schemes) Laura Bishop spoke about the recently revised Eblex Quality Standard Mark (QSM) standards.
Dr Phil Hadley, Eblex southern senior regional manager and event chairman, said: “Our inaugural Processor Conference proved to be a resounding success and highlighted how the Quality Standard Mark (QSM) delivers eating quality based on science. Importantly, it illustrated that post-slaughter factors have a hugely positive impact on meat eating quality when done correctly.”