Focus on Marbling to Maximise Value of Pork

CANADA - The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement is confident new tools being developed to control the amount of marbling in pork will allow the Canadian pork industry to maximise the value of its products, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement represents pork producers, packers and processors and swine breeders and provides services in the area of genetic improvement.

Last month, as part of a federal government initiative to help boost the Canadian pork industry's competitive edge in foreign and domestic markets, the centre received funding to develop methods to predict and to promote marbling in pork products.

Centre general manager Brian Sullivan says the goal is to provide tools to evaluate, select and manage pigs to produce desired levels of marbling.

Brian Sullivan-Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement

Marbling is the relatively small amounts of fat that exist within a muscle as opposed to between muscles or around muscles.

It's also know as intramuscular fat and it's significant in that it affects the juiciness and the flavor and even the tenderness of pork and other meats like beef as well.

It's significant right now for the Canadian swine industry in that the levels of marbling are very very low in a typical piece of pork that a consumer will pick up in the grocery store.

It's lower than what consumers would really prefer by the time that pork chop or piece of pork reaches their plate.

Mr Sullivan says some markets want very high levels of marbling while other markets are looking for lower levels.

He says the ability to increase or decrease marbling to match specific markets will help maximise the value of the pork products going into those markets.

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