Trend Moves to More Fat in Pork

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Farmscape for February 20, 2018

Full Interview 5:58 Listen

An Applied Meat Scientist with PIC North America says the trend toward reducing the level of fat in pork has reversed in order to improve eating quality. “Fat Quality and Composition in Finishing Pigs” was a topic of discussion at this year’s Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg. Dr. Neal Matthews, an Applied Meat Scientist with PIC North America, says back in the 1990s most of the breeding programs changed to reduce fat and in the 2000s we were getting fat levels extremely low.

Clip-Dr. Neal Matthews-PIC North America:
It was getting to a point, especially from a North American perspective where we were not having enough fat to have good belly quality and the quality of the fat was even getting bad. It was softer fat so, as we progress farther, I think we’ll see less pressure on reducing backfat into it and maybe just holding it at a steady pace as we move forward.
It’s generally felt that fat, or intramuscular fat, in the meat gives a benefit to eating quality. That’s very true of beef but in pork it doesn’t provide as much of an improvement in eating quality as things like pH would come into play.
So a lot of people are focusing on improving pH in order to improve the eating quality. Where as intramuscular fat is easily seen, people can see it and they can relate to it because they know beef so there’s a perception that it has a big improvement on eating quality. It’s very marketable, it’s something we can use and, as long as we continue to get paid for it, we’ll continue providing high quality marbled pork.

Dr. Mathews acknowledges there is a cost associated with increasing fat content, in terms of feed efficiency and other costs that have to accounted for when selling that product so you have to sell it a premium in order to overcome that loss in the cost of production.

For Farmscape. Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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