The Result of Improved Control Over Marbling

CANADA - The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement is confident improved methods to control marbling will enhance the value of pork in certain markets, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Marbling, or intramuscular fat, significantly affects the flavor, juiciness and tenderness of pork as well as other meats.

The Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement has launched a three year project to develop methods to predict and promote marbling in pork.

Centre general manager Brian Sullivan says there's lots of variability in marbling but the industry doesn't have a lot of control over it.

Brian Sullivan-Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement

Pigs will go to market and somewhere along the line after slaughter and through processing there may be some sorting to try to find pork that has the desired level for different markets.

This will give the industry the tools to better evaluate pigs before they get to market and also to select and manage them to produce desired levels.

Some markets want very high levels, some of the export markets for example in Japan and other Asian countries and this will allow us to better meet the demands for those markets.

The restaurant trade is looking for higher levels of marbling while there's also other markets that are looking for lower levels.

North American consumers for example don't want to see a lot of fat in the meat when they buy it so we can use this technology to produce a little bit higher level but it doesn't really create a lot of visible fat but would still enhance the eating quality and there's other markets that would want even very low levels of marbling and that would include pork that's going for further processing and some markets that are really fat conscious and want as low as possible.

Mr Sullivan says by controlling marbling the industry will be better able to meet the quality demands and improve the value of the products.

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