Marbling in Pork Key in Determining Consumer Desirability

by 5m Editor
7 December 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1662. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1662

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says, after years of genetic selection for leaner pork, the market is now calling for more fat in the meat.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency National Livestock Grade Standard Specialist Tom Veale is responsible for issues related to the grading of all species of livestock including hogs.

He says grading identifies the characteristics of the meat and provides the opportunity to use that data to target specific markets.

"If we go back into the late '60's and early '70's, it was an A, B, C grading system and there was not a lot of focus on the meat yield, or fatness of the hogs and they were pretty fat. In the early '70's a meat yield grading system was adopted.

There was research done at Lacombe Research Centre to establish a formula that would give you a fat yield. Initially it was only fat measurements.

Later on the lean became a factor in the formula as well. The industry responded well.

They were getting paid for leaner hogs so, with their breeding programs and feeding programs, they took the fat off and in about the mid '80's we actually got too lean. Believe it or not.

With not enough fat there, there's quality effects, lack of firmness in the flesh, lack of firmness in the bellies, lack of juiciness in the meat so now we're coming back where we want a little bit more fat on those hogs to meet consumer satisfaction."

Veale says consumer preference is something of a moving target. He says, in Japan for example, consumers like their pork a little on the fatter side with a bit of marbling while the Canadian market wants a leaner hog.

He says Canada exports a lot of pork so it's important to meet the requirements of all of those markets.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor