Improving Beef Colour at Grading
Colour is the most important pre-purchase quality trait of meat, because consumers use colour as an indicator of quality and freshness at the point of sale. Australian processing plants assess colour at grading and it is one of the criteria that determines the value of the carcass. Beef carcasses are downgraded when the loin has a high ultimate pH (pHu > 5.7), which often corresponds to dark non-compliant meat colour.
The majority of research aiming at reducing the incidence of dark cutting has focused on practices that result in increasing muscle glycogen prior to slaughter. This project took a different approach and re-examined the role of muscle structure in determining meat colour, and further investigated whether some interventions could be used to manipulate muscle structure to improve meat colour.