From: University of Alberta
Published December 14, 2017 08:16 AM

Cattle delayed a weekend before slaughter produce lower-grade meat

When cattle arrive at a slaughterhouse on a Friday but are held for processing until Monday, they have an increased incidence of producing tough, low-grade meat, new research shows.

“It can happen if there are too many cattle and there’s a backup, or if there’s a plant breakdown,” said Heather Bruce, an associate professor of carcass and meat science in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

“They are held over the weekend at a strange feedlot and are stressed by repeatedly being loaded and unloaded into a truck and by eating strange feed. The sustained stress of as many as six loadings and unloadings depletes the glycogen in the muscle—they run out of gas.”

The result is “dark-cutting beef,” which is a blackish-purple colour instead of bright red. It is less appealing to consumers, is less flavourful and subsequently reduces the price of the meat by as much as 30 per cent, said Bruce.


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