Consumers choose to buy meat primarily by visual appearance. A meat cut red in colour is more likely to be sold than a cut brown in color forcing the retailers to discount the prices of discolored meat leading to economic losses.
The appearance of brown on the meat surface is an oxidative process which reflects the antioxidant potential of muscles. Antioxidants have been reported to influence both lipid and protein oxidation and Vit E (α-tocopherol) and
have been extensively documented to minimise lipid oxidation and improve meat colour stability. However, there is not sufficient work published on the oxidative status of finisher lambs during hot summer days.
The first study investigated the dose response to dietary Vit E and Se supplementation on live weight gain, oxidative status, carcass quality and meat retail colour stability of lambs finished under hot conditions before transport
and subsequent lairage. The second study compared the effects of a lucerne-based diet versus a grain-based diet supplemented with VitE on muscle VitE concentration and the retail colour stability of lamb meat.
Although the SUP group had greater muscle VitE status, the lucerne-based diet maintained retail colour of meat better than the VitE supplemented grain-based diet. It was concluded that higher incorporation of VitE can be achieved
in muscle through supranutritional supplementation in the diet during finishing period of 3-4 weeks while to improve the retail colour stability of lamb meat for key markets, lambs may be finished on lucerne-based diet as other
micronutrients may also influence the antioxidant activity and retail colour stability.