Marbling Key to Expanding Export Sales of Pork

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2142. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 17 May 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2142

A scientist with the Swine Research and Development Corporation says the presence of marbling has become a key factor in the export market as international buyers purchase pork.

Researchers with the Brandon based Swine Research and Development Corporation are attempting to correlate ultrasound images taken from the live hog with those taken from the slaughtered carcass and with chemical fat analysis conducted in the lab in an effort to come up with a live measure of marbling in the meat.

Dr. Bob McKay notes approximately 85 percent of the hogs produced in Manitoba go for export and, if they're going to a Japanese market, they want marbling.

Marbling adds flavor and taste to the meat. The simple test is go to the grocery store and look at the pork chops and pick out a bunch of pork chops that have no marbling and pick out some that do have marbling and cook them up and keep them separate and you'll be able to tell the difference.

They just don't have the same taste and, if they haven't got the taste, people aren't going to buy. There are many choices out there. They're not restricted to your choice is pork or pork.

If they don't like the pork they can have beef, they can have chicken, they can have fish so we have to have a product that is desirable to the palate as well as to the eye. If they're going to a Japanese market they want marbling.

A lot of what we sell to the Japanese market are boneless backs which is basically the loin eye muscle removed and it's cut into chops or steaks or what ever over there and the bulk of the marbling has to be in there so marbling is important. Five to six years ago we had no marbling and now it's starting to creep back in, but we need the marbling if we're going to make the export sales.

Dr. McKay is confident, the ability to assess a live hog for marbling has the potential to revolutionize the selection of breeding stock. He notes there is also great interest in incorporating the technology into packing plants so they'll be able to assess marbling in the loin so they can target specific loins to specific markets.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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