As buyers of various products, we always place a high value on the products’ quality, especially when it comes to the food we consume. Quality is a relative concept because it can be defined differently by different people and has many different meanings. Although “quality” is described in ISO 9000: 2000 as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs,” this definition is not entirely accurate.
For the vast majority of people, especially in the developed world, meat is one of the most important foods in their diets. Its quality, which is influenced by a number of factors, is crucial for both consumers and producers. It is necessary in order to produce high-quality meat, to understand the characteristics of meat quality traits and factors to control these. Aspects of meat such as source, cost, ethical factors, religion, production systems, and safety influence the acceptability of the product by consumers.
Every time, raw meat quality control is the first step in the evaluation of meat quality. Meat quality can be evaluated visually by evaluating its organoleptic qualities, such as color, appearance, odor, and taste. Since there is currently no laboratory analysis or mechanical device that can replicate all of the actions of biting and chewing or measure or duplicate human perceptions, the majority of sensory evaluations of meat are still conducted by humans (panel test). However, fresh meat quality can be defined instrumentally, including composition, nutrients, color, water-holding capacity, tenderness, functionality, flavors, spoilage, and contamination.
From the standpoints of its processing methods and storage, meat’s pH is a crucial indicator of meat quality. Muscle glycogen (energy) levels at slaughter directly affect the meat’s critical pH value, which is measured about 24 hours after slaughter. The meat’s final pH affects the meat’s color, ability to hold water, and texture, all of which have an impact on the meat’s quality. Prior to being killed, an animal’s stress has a significant impact on the pH of the meat. Each animal has a certain amount of glycogen stored in its muscles, and when the animal dies, this glycogen is converted to lactic acid, which lowers pH levels. Nutritional influences on muscle glycogen have shown a direct relationship between metabolizable energy intake and muscle glycogen levels.
Meat color varies depending on species, age, and muscle type and is caused by the myoglobin content of the muscle. Furthermore, because pH affects enzyme activity and oxygenation rate, color may be affected by pH drop rate and is more stable at relatively higher pH values. The main pigment in meat is myoglobin. The color of meat gets darker as myoglobin concentration rises. Since myoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein of the muscle, variations in the color of myoglobin are dependent on its oxygen content. Myoglobin is purple because it is in the reduced form (metmyoglobin) without oxygen. However, when oxygen is present, it transforms into oxymyoglobin, which is red. a bright red color associated with a high content of oxymyoglobin is a positive determinant of quality, whereas brown meat myoglobin content is a negative determinant.
Although raw meat has a mild flavor, the flavor develops as a result of several compounds produced in postmortem muscle. The ability of meat to absorb odors from the outside, which develop from animal feeds, the administration of drugs, fever, advanced stage of gestation, and sexual odor, is a common cause of abnormal odors in meat. Additionally, the species, sex, age, stress, fat content, and diet of the animal all influence the flavor of the meat. True flavor emerges during cooking and is thought to result in part from a reaction between some of the meat’s sugars and the muscle protein. Many different factors, including the meat’s composition and textural characteristics, affect flavor.
A key factor in determining the quality of the carcass and predicting palatability is the amount of intramuscular fat that is deposited in the longissimus muscle (marbling). Muscle flavor, juiciness, and firmness are all influenced by marbling. It is a crucial element in determining meat quality. Fatty layers that fill meat with juice during cooking, affect flavor elements like juiciness and tenderness. Visual inspection of the carcass allows for the determination of marbling. In the rib eye muscle, ultrasound measurements of marbling are reported as a percentage of intramuscular fat (%IMF).
Consumer studies have shown that tenderness is both the most crucial and hardest to predict aspect of meat eating quality. Pre- and post-slaughter influences, such as the degree of muscle contraction during rigor mortis, the amount of connective tissue, and the activity of the muscle’s inherent enzyme systems, can all have an impact on tenderness. Initial and overall tenderness, as well as the more complex sensory qualities of chewing and mouth, feel with numerous descriptors like fiber cohesiveness, adhesion, friability, chew count, meatiness, mushiness, softness, amount of residual connective tissue, rubberizes, hardness, are all characteristics of beef texture.
Regarding eating quality, the juiciness of the meat is crucial, and it is influenced by a variety of variables, including the final pH, fat content, marinating method, and level of doneness.
Inhibiting microbial growth by applying organic acids to carcass surfaces can be beneficial. The food industry successfully uses lactic acid, a naturally occurring acid, when processing food. Inhibiting microbial growth by applying organic acids to carcass surfaces can be beneficial. The food industry successfully uses lactic acid (LA), a naturally occurring acid, when processing food.
Factors Affecting Meat Quality
Intrinsic Elements Even within more similar groups like small ruminant species, the qualities of high-quality meat differ from species to species. Contrarily; sensory analyses evaluate variations in meat characteristics. Although the population’s eating habits are also correlated with the acceptability of meat from various species, species-related flavors are associated with species-dependent adipose tissues. Breed clearly contributes to variations in carcass morphology related to meat or fat content. The effect of a lamb’s breed or genetic makeup varies greatly. It is generally true that breed has little to no impact on the instrumental and sensory qualities of meat, such as pH, color, texture, and sensory characteristics. Most discrepancies are likely supported by differences in muscularity levels.
The amount of fat deposited, the site of the deposit, the rate of growth, and the carcass yield are the main factors influencing gender effects (male, female, and castrated). Gender has a greater impact on the characteristics of the carcass; similarly, due to their higher precociousness, females have a greater impact than males, while steers maintain a middle ground. Additionally, variations in carcass, fat, and conformation may influence other meat quality indicators. Given the same genetic base, age and weight at slaughter are also analyzed together because, barring situations where feed composition or level is altered or the animal experiences prolonged periods of severe feed restriction, a higher weight at slaughter implies a higher age. Weight had an impact on the ratios of fat and carcass yield, with light lambs having lower commercial and slaughter yields and less internal fat.
Extrinsic Elements before Slaughter The quality of color, odor, and flavour of the meat is affected by the usual animal feed, but its effects are more pronounced in fat. Some dairy breeds frequently exhibit the yellow color of their fat from grass feeding, which is thought to be a poor indicator of quality. The animal’s pre-slaughter stress has an impact on the quality of the meat as well, so dark, firm, and dry (DFD) and pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) meat can be classified as aberrations . Pre-slaughter stress can be brought on by circumstances like transportation, confinement, strange surroundings, additional handling, and prolonged water deprivation.
Althoerm “stress” is vague, it can be defined as an animal’s response to any demand made upon it . When an animal is stressed in the preslaughter environment, there is a rapid release of enzymes, cortisol,, and catecholamine, which may lead to depletion of glycogen, high meat ultimate pH, and dark cuts . pH rises when the glycogen stores become depleted from more prolonged stress, and lactic acid can no longer be produced. Meat in the DFD condition darkens because of a higher respiration rate that decreases the depth of oxygen penetration and, consequently, lowers the level of oxymyoglobin that is visible. Due to the lack of glucose in the tissues, DFD meat spoils more quickly than meat with a normal pH. PSE occurs when the pH of the meat is less than 6 at 45 minutes after slaughter, and DFD occurs when the final postmortem pH is greater than or equal to 6 after 12 to 48 hours. PSE meat has a soft texture, a low water-holding capacity, and poor functional qualities. It also appears pale and lean.
Biochemical Changes 2.3.3 Muscles don’t suddenly stop functioning as living things and turn into meat. a variety of chemical and physical take place over a period of several hours. These include the onset of rigor mortis and the proteolysis postmortem processes. In beef cattle, the conversion of muscle to meat can be a lengthy process requiring up to 48 hours or even more. In particular, fresh meat quality is directly associated to muscle fiber characteristics because skeletal muscles mainly consist of muscle fibers.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Since meat is a significant source of essential nutrients, both consumers and producers place a high value on its quality, which is influenced by a variety of factors. The study demonstrates that sensory qcolores like color, teflavors, and flavor, nutritional qualities like calories, vitamin content, and fatty acid profile, and appearance qualities like exudation, marbling, and visible fat content are all related to how well-being is perceived by consumers. Scientific elements like composition, ncolorts, pH, color, water-holding ability, tenderness, fflavorsnality, flavorss, spoilage, and contamination can also be used to define fresh meat quality. Meat quality and composition can be measured using a variety of techniques. To ensure that only high-quality meat and meat products are produced, every agent in the meat supply chain should be assessed.