Project ID

M2007-13

Abstract

Factors beyond the farm gate can affect the quality pork product, among them temperature and amount of time for transport. This study examines how these factors affect producers selling in the niche pork market.

Key Question

Do handling protocol and hauling temperature impact the meat's final pH levels, and therefore impact meat color and quality?

Findings

The levels of pH and pork meat color have long been observed to be affected by stress; including heat related stress. However, it has proven difficult to isolate specific producer related methods which could be shown to have measureable improvement on carcass pH. Variables include handling facilities, trailer condition and size, weather conditions including humidity; hauling distance, rations, access to water and specific genetics of the hogs. The study was not specifically looking at genetics as it was hoped that a specific management practice or set of practices would emerge to benefit producers of high quality pork. Prudent handling to avoid stress remains a commonsense recommendation consistent with Pork Quality Assurance standards. But, the results of this study did not find a statistically significant cause and effect. It now appears more likely genetics will play a major role in identifying a discrete solution to variable cutting characteristics such as pH and pork color.

Principal Investigator(s)

Ray Hansen

Co-Investigator(s)

Kelly Biensen, Nina Biensen

Year of Grant Completion

2009