Conference to focus on quality

What is meat quality? That will be one of the questions asked and answered by Professor Neville Gregory of the Royal Veterinary College at a major producer conference next month. Meat eating quality has three key measures - tenderness, succulence and taste - and these can be influenced by how an animal is reared, fed and, importantly, handled during the marketing phase. The second EBLEX National Producer Conference in Bristol on 19 May brings together five expert speakers, including Professor Gregory, to look at practical and wider economic issues that have an impact on producer profitability. Improving meat quality, better stock handling and the financial aspects of running a farm business are all topics that will be covered during the day. Professor Gregory said: "How an animal is prepared and transported to slaughter can have significant implications for eating quality. Stress prior to slaughter alters the way in which energy is converted into acid in the muscle tissue and this can result in dark and dry beef that gives poor eating quality. Livestock producers spend more than a year getting an animal in top condition and that good work can be undone in the last few days." The abattoir sector also has a principal role in meat quality, with much of the influence coming from the process and methods such as hanging, stimulation and packaging.

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