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Meat Science. What is Meat Science?. The study of the entire meat industry from the production of the animal to the preparation of the final product to the marketing of the product. Beef Lamb Rabbit Poultry Pork. Veal Venison Sea Food Wild Game Ostrich Emu. Types of Meat.

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Meat Science

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Meat science

Meat Science

What is meat science

What is Meat Science?

  • The study of the entire meat industry from the production of the animal to the preparation of the final product to the marketing of the product

Types of meat








Sea Food

Wild Game



Types of Meat

Why is meat important

Why is Meat Important?

  • High quality protein

  • Iron

  • Vitamin B

  • Vitamin A

Meat is composed of

Muscle Tissue

Nerve Tissue

Fat Tissue

Blood Vessels




Organ Tissue

Meat is Composed of

Edible by products


Cheek Meat, Ears, Snout

Pig’s Feet, Knuckles

Head Meat












Sweetbreads (Thymus)




Edible By-Products

Meat cuts and by products

Meat cuts and by-products:

USDA photo/Ken Hammond

  • Beef:

    • 62 percent as beef cuts

    • 24 percent for hamburger

    • 15 percent as by-products

  • Pork:

    • 65 percent of the total isconsumed as processedmeat such as ham,bacon and sausage.

  • The meat-packing industry provides by-products like cosmetics, glues and gelatins.

History of the meat industry

History of The Meat Industry

  • Early butchers began killing and cutting animals for other people outside of their own family

  • Meat preservation began with the packing of meat in a salt solution in wooden barrels

History of the meat industry1

History of The Meat Industry

  • Animals were driven “on the hoof” until refrigeration was invented

  • Huge meat packing plants developed in the Midwest and began processing meat and shipping it

History of the meat industry2

History of The Meat Industry

  • As cities grew, small meat shops began to open to the public

  • Animals were driven to the railroad “on the hoof” and taken to larger cities to be butchered

History of the meat industry3

History of The Meat Industry

  • Meat plants were rebuilt and/or automated

  • It became more economical to ship frozen meat products than the live animal

Overview of the beef industry

Overview of the Beef Industry

  • Approximately 1.3 billion total cattle in the world

  • 35 million of these are beef cows in the U.S.

Segments of the beef cattle industry

Segments of the Beef Cattle Industry

  • Seedstock/Purebred Breeders

  • Cow/Calf Operation

  • Yearling/Stocker Operation

  • Feedlots

  • Meat Packaging/Processing

  • Wholesalers

  • Retailers

  • Consumers

How meat is sold

How meat is sold:

USDA photo

Traditionally sold as sides,quarters or wholesale cuts

Now mostly sold asboxed beef

Some large packers nowprepare consumer-readymeat in vacuum packagesready for the supermarketshelf.

Beef cattle breeds

Angus (black and red)







Texas Longhorn


Belted Galloway

Holstein and other dairy breeds???

> 250 beef cattle breeds

Beef Cattle Breeds

Meat inspection

Meat Inspection

  • The mandatory evaluation of the health status of meat animals and the wholesomeness of the meat obtained from them

Government surveillance

Government surveillance:

  • Purposes of inspection:

    • Prevents harmful additives and ingredients

    • Excludes sick and diseased animals

    • Eliminates misleading labeling and packaging

    • Prohibits contaminated and unwholesome meats

  • Federal meat inspection is administered by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as part of USDA.

  • States may inspect meat only for use within that state.

Federal inspection

Federal Inspection

  • Exceptions to federal inspection of meat to be sold are farmers and custom/local butchers, however, they fall under state inspection guidelines



  • The amount of saleable retail cuts that can be obtained from a carcass

Dressing percentage

Dressing Percentage

  • Ratio of the dressed carcass weight to the weight of the live animal

  • (Hot carcass weight/live weight)X100

  • average=62.5%

Wholesome meat act of 1967

Wholesome Meat Act of 1967

  • All meat must be inspected before sale

Humane slaughter act

Humane Slaughter Act

  • All animals must be immobilized prior to shackling and bleeding

Slaughtering practices

Slaughtering practices:

USDA photo

  • Humane Slaughter Act (1960) requires animals to be rendered completely unconscious before slaughter.

  • Carcasses are chilled for 24 to 48 hours before grading and processing.

  • Brains, kidneys, tail,sweetbreads, and thetongue are by-products.

    • Sold separately as “offal”

    • Important source of income



  • Rendering an animal unconscious (brain dead), but the heart is still beating---technically the animal is still alive

Methods of immobilization

Methods of Immobilization

  • Mechanical (gun, steel rod gun, captive bolt gun)

  • Electrical shock

  • Chemical (carbon dioxide)



  • The bleeding of an animal until the heart stops beating (Exsanguination)

Kosher slaughtering

Kosher Slaughtering

  • Butchering according to religious beliefs (Jewish Religion)

  • Kosher is exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act (Immobilization)

9 components of meat inspection facilities inspection

9 Components of Meat Inspection/Facilities Inspection

  • Sanitation

  • Ante-Mortem inspection

  • Post-Mortem inspection

  • Product inspection

  • Lab analysis

9 components of meat inspection facilities inspection1

9 Components of Meat Inspection/Facilities Inspection

  • Control and Restriction of condemned material

  • Marking and Labeling

  • Pest Control

  • Sewage and Waste Disposal

Rigor mortis

Rigor Mortis

  • The “stiffness of death” – the stiffening of muscles in a dead animal due to the lack of energy in the muscle

  • Occurs about 6-12 hours after death

Rigor mortis1

Rigor Mortis

  • Energy is needed in muscle in order for the muscle fibers to relax

  • When an animal is killed there is no way for energy to be produced because there is no more oxygen entering the body

Rigor mortis2

Rigor Mortis

  • Rigor mortis can be thought of as an irreversible muscle contraction

  • Pre-slaughter death, rigor mortis, rate of carcass cooling affect muscle change after death

Carcass grading

Carcass Grading

  • Types of Fat include:

    • Subcutaneous – fat found directly under the skin

    • Intermuscular – fat found between muscles

    • Intramuscular – fat found in the muscles (marbling)

Grading is voluntary

Grading is voluntary …

Microsoft photo

  • Establishes and maintains uniform trading standards

  • Aids in setting the value of variouscuts of meat

  • Carcasses are graded by quality and yield.

    • Quality grades for beef:prime, choice, select,standard, commercial,utility, cutter and canner

    • Yield: proportion of usablemeat to bone and fat

Variations in tenderness

Variations in tenderness:

Genetics is a big factor.

Species and age – younger animals are more tender

Feeding – indirect effect, grain-fed animals are younger at slaughter weight

Muscle variations – amount of connective tissue affects tenderness

Suspension of carcass

Variations in tenderness cont

Variations in tenderness (cont.):

Electrical stimulation improves tenderness.

Chilling rate – rapid cooling toughens meat

Aging – beef is aged for 7 to 10 days

Quality grade – age plays a big factor here

Mechanical – grinding or cubing increases tenderness

Carcass grading1

Carcass Grading

  • Quality

  • Yield

Variations in tenderness cont1

Variations in tenderness (cont.):

Chemical – salt or enzymes increase tenderness

Marinades – may include salt, acid, enzymes, alcohol, oil to soften collagen, increase water uptake and break down connective tissues

Freezing and thawing

Cooking method

Carving against the grain improves tenderness

Quality grading

Quality Grading

  • Degree of Marbling

    • AbundantPrime

    • ModestChoice

    • SlightSelect

    • TracesStandard

Degree of marbling

Degree of Marbling

Quality grading1

Quality Grading

  • Maturity

    • Bone development

    • Button formation (ossification)

    • Whiter and flatter rib bones

    • A (youngest) -------E (oldest)

Appearance of ribs

Appearance of Ribs

  • A- Narrow and oval

  • B- Slightly wide and slightly flat

  • C- Slightly wide and moderately


  • D- Moderately wide and flat

  • E- Wide and flat

Maturity cont d






9-30 months

30-42 months

42-72 months

72-96 months

> 96 months

Maturity cont’d.

Bone maturity

Bone Maturity

Yield grading

Yield Grading

  • Indicates the carcass cutability

    • Fat thickness between the 12th and 13th ribs

    • Rib Eye Area

    • % kidney, pelvic, and heart fat

    • 1 (> muscling)------5 (< muscling)

12 th 13 th rib fat

12th-13th Rib Fat

Ribeye area

Ribeye Area

Ribeye area1

Ribeye area

  • 10 dots=1 sq. in

Lamb carcass processing

Lamb Carcass Processing


Appearance of meat depends on

Appearance of Meat Depends On

  • Water

    • Mixes with and binds to the protein in meat

    • Free water found on the surface of meat (allows bacteria to grow)

Appearance of meat depends on1

Appearance of Meat Depends On

  • Color

    • Type of meat and amount of light in contact with the meat

    • Reflecting of light from the meat package

Appearance of meat depends on2

Appearance of Meat Depends On

  • Pigments

    • Hemoglobin = red pigment found in blood

    • Myoglobin = pigment found in muscle

    • The iron in myoglobin combines with oxygen to change the color of meat

Appearance of meat depends on3

Appearance of Meat Depends On

  • Pigments cont’d.

    • The different kinds of meats have different iron levels, which is why they are different colors

    • Color change usually occurs from purple – to red – to brown

Appearance of meat depends on4

Appearance of Meat Depends On

  • Texture

    • How the meat feels (cooking affects this)

  • Ratio of Meat:Fat

    • The amount of fat in meat changes how a piece of meat looks

  • Meat tenderness

    Meat Tenderness

    • Tenderness is the biting or chewing of meat

    • Tenderness is heavily influenced by many factors

    What affects meat tenderness




    Water content


    Type of meat

    Rigor Mortis

    Cooking style



    What Affects Meat Tenderness

    Types of cookery

    Types of Cookery

    • Heat from the cooking process denatures (breaks down) the protein in meat

      • Dry Heat Cooking – cooking meat with hot, dry air—includes broil, grill, stir fry, roast, fry

    Types of cookery1

    Types of Cookery

    • Moist Heat Cooking – cooking meat in a closed container with added water—includes cooking in water and pot roasts

    • Microwave Cooking – rapid cooking of meat by using electromagnetic waves

    Microorganisms found in meat

    Microorganisms Found In Meat

    • Bacteria

    • Yeast

    • Mold

      • These microorganisms can grow from 40 to 115 degrees F.

    Microorganisms found in meat1

    Microorganisms Found In Meat

    • “Life begins at 40”

    • Most bacteria are killed at around 120 degrees F.

    • Pasteurization occurs at 155-165 degrees F.

    Microorganisms found in meat2

    Microorganisms Found In Meat

    • Microorganisms have many factors affecting their growth

      • pH of meat

      • Water content

      • Temperature

      • Oxygen

      • Type and quality of packaging

      • Nitrates

      • Initial # of bacteria in the meat

    Common sources of meat contamination


    Animal hide

    Intestinal tract

    Employees (hands, clothing, health)





    Storage areas

    Common Sources of Meat Contamination

    Characteristics of spoiled meat

    Characteristics of Spoiled Meat

    • Color

    • Odor – sweet or sickening

    • Flavor - rancid

    • Texture – sticky or tacky – liquid coating

    • Date of packaging

    • Freezer burn

    How to prevent spoilage

    How to Prevent Spoilage

    • Use proper sanitation

    • Store at right temperatures

    • Keep packages sealed

    • Cook thoroughly

    • Follow all directions

    Types of meat storage

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Refrigeration

      • Chill carcasses after killing

      • The lower the chilling temperature without freezing, the more shelf life is increased

      • Chilling tries to slow down bacteria growth

    Types of meat storage1

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Freezing

      • Used for long term storage (recommended 6 mo. – 1 yr.)

      • Freeze quickly after slaughtering

      • Commercial -10 to 20 degrees F.

      • Home -10 to 0 degrees F.

      • Watch out for freezer burn!!!

    Types of meat storage2

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Curing

      • Adding ingredients to extend the shelf life/preserve the food

      • Ingredients include salt, nitrite/nitrate, sugar, water, spices

      • Cured meat examples include ham, bacon, dried beef, bologna, beef jerky

    Types of meat storage3

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Dehydration

      • The nearly complete removal of water from foods under controlled conditions

      • The removal of water decreases spoilage and bulkiness and increases the convenience of the food

    Types of meat storage4

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Vacuum Packaging

      • Storing food by compressing all of the air out of the food source

      • Tends to make the meat look purple, which may turn consumers off

    Types of meat storage5

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Controlled Atmosphere Packaging

      • Similar to vacuum packaging, but tries to control the gasses inside the meat package so bright red color remains

    Types of meat storage6

    Types of Meat Storage

    • Irradiation

      • Uses different kinds of radiant energy to destroy living organisms that would normally spoil food

      • Takes the place of chemicals being applied to the food

      • No radiation is left in or on the food!

    Meat packaging

    Meat Packaging

    • The goal of meat packaging is to keep the meat fresh and decrease the chance of spoilage, change in color, or leaking of water/juices while still making it appealing to the consumer

    Types of packaging materials

    Types of Packaging Materials

    • Saran wrap

    • Foam trays

    • Freezer paper

    • Aluminum foil

    • Vacuum bags



    • Must include:

      • Name

      • Ingredients

      • Handling

      • Sell by date

      • Manufacturer

      • Nutritional information

      • weight

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