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Effect of Ractopamine on Shoulder Muscles of Finishing Pigs

05 February 2013

Shoulders from pigs fed ractopamine might be of benefit to the industry because they provide more pounds of sellable product with no detrimental effects on processing characteristics, according to a study from researchers at the University of Illinois, Elanco Animal Health, Triumph Foods and Busseto Foods.

The objectives of the research team of M.A. Tavárez, D.D. Boler, S.N. Carr, M.J. Ritter, D.B. Petry, C.M. Souza, J. Killefer, F.K. McKeith and A.C. Dilger were to characterize the effects of ractopamine hydrochloride (RAC) on fresh meat and further processing characteristics of muscles (serratus ventralis and triceps brachii) from the shoulders of finishing pigs.

A total of 240 shoulders originating from 120 carcases (60 barrows and 60 gilts) were selected from a commercial population of pigs.

A 2×2 factorial in a completely randomised design was used, with factors of RAC inclusion in the diet (0 or 7.4mg per kg, as-fed basis) and sex (barrow or gilt).

Paired shoulders (120 rights and 120 lefts) were transported from a federally inspected slaughter facility under refrigeration to the University of Illinois Meat Science Laboratory for evaluation.

Subsequently, right and left shoulders were separated and designated for two separate experiments.

Shoulders from the right side were used in the first experiment, to determine further processing characteristics. Cellar trimmed (CT) butts from the Boston butt of the shoulders were cured and dried-cured to manufacture cottage bacon and coppa, respectively.

Shoulders from left side were used in the second experiment to determine fresh meat characteristics.

Pigs fed RAC had greater shoulder weights and increased yields of cuts from the shoulder.

Feeding RAC decreased Boston butt fat content (P=0.01) but had no effect on picnic fat content (P=0.86).

Pigs fed RAC had greater (P<0.01) iodine values than controls (67.00 versus 64.95, respectively).

Inclusion of RAC in the diet had no effect on cottage bacon cooked yield (P=0.33) but it decreased (P<0.01) cottage bacon fat content without having an effect on protein content (P=0.50).

In addition, cottage bacon from RAC shoulders had greater slice total area (P=0.01) and less seam fat (P=0.01) than controls.

Ractopamine hydrochloride had no detrimental effects on coppa processing characteristics or visual appearance.

Cottage bacon and coppa from RAC pigs had sensory characteristics similar to controls.

The study, published in the Journal of Animal Science, concluded that shoulders from pigs fed RAC might be of benefit to the industry because they provide more pounds of sellable product with no detrimental effects on processing characteristics.

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

February 2013

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