Review: On-farm and processing factors affecting bovine carcass and meat quality - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Animal Year : 2022

Review: On-farm and processing factors affecting bovine carcass and meat quality


This paper reviews the current state of knowledge on beef carcass and meat quality, with particular emphasis on on-farm and processing factors associated with its high and inconsistent variability. The diversity of livestock systems comes from the diversity of breeds (dairy or beef), ages and gender (bulls, steers, heifers, cull cows) used to produce either mainly beef or beef and milk. In addition, there are factors linked to farming practices (including diet, especially grazing) which significantly influence the sensory, nutritional, technological and extrinsic (such as image) quality attributes of meat. These can become factors of positive differentiation when controlled by the application and certification of technical specifications. Finally, preslaughter (such as stress), slaughter (such as the chilling and hanging method of carcasses) and postslaughter (such as ageing, packaging and cooking) conditions have a strong influence on the microbiological, sensory, technological and image quality attributes of beef. In this review, potential synergisms or antagonisms between the different quality attributes are highlighted. For example, finishing cattle on grass, compared to indoor fattening on a high concentrate diet, has the advantage of producing leaner meat with a higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids while exhibiting superior oxidative stability, but with the consequence of a darker meat colour and lower productivity, as well as higher seasonality and land surface requirements. Moreover, the control of on-farm factors is often guided by productivity (growth rate, feed conversion ratio) and carcass quality attributes (weight, conformation and fatness). Genetic selection has often been oriented in this direction, without taking other quality attributes into account. Finally, the interactions between all these factors (and especially between on-farm and slaughter or processing factors) are not considered in the quality grading schemes in European countries. This means that positive efforts at farm level may be mitigated or even eliminated by poor slaughtering or processing conditions. All these considerations explain why between-animal variability in quality can be high, even when animals come from the same farming system. The ability to predict the sensory and nutritional properties of meat according to production factors has become a major objective of the supply chai

Dates and versions

hal-03545364 , version 1 (27-01-2022)





Antoine Clinquart, Marie-Pierre Ellies-Oury, Jean-François J.-F. Hocquette, Laurent Guillier, Véronique Santé-Lhoutellier, et al.. Review: On-farm and processing factors affecting bovine carcass and meat quality. Animal, 2022, 16 (Suppl. 1), pp.100426. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2021.100426⟩. ⟨hal-03545364⟩
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