La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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Testing the MSA palatability grading scheme on Irish beef

The eating quality of beef, particularly tenderness, is very important to consumers. It is affected by many on-farm and post-slaughter factors and can be variable at the point of sale. Yet the consumer cannot assess the eating quality when purchasing beef. Colour is the most important attribute as seen by the consumer but this has little to do with eating quality. To address the issue of consumer dissatisfaction with the variable eating quality of beef, Meat and Livestock Australia developed a model to predict palatability from the on-farm and post-slaughter factors that are known to affect it. The MSA grading model is based on a large database of beef samples from different cuts cooked in a number of ways and tasted by many consumers. Each sample is assessed for tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall acceptability, each on a scale from 0 to 100. These scores are converted to the Meat Quality Score (MQS) using appropriate weightings for each attribute and given a star rating. The model was tested on Irish beef and Irish consumers and found to be as accurate at predicting consumer scores as when used on Australian beef and Australian consumers. Experiments were also carried out to see how well the model accounted for some of the factors that are particularly relevant to the Irish beef industry. There was generally a good fit for factors such as electrical stimulation, aitch bone hanging, ageing time, breed and sex. The MSA model could be used by the Irish beef industry to sort cuts into eating quality classes and reduce the amount of variation in eating quality.


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