Attributes of meat quality for the consumer and its relation to the classification systems of bovine carcasses in Spain and in the USA is the title of the study that researchers at the Public University of Navarre and the University of Illinois are carrying out. The research will provide knowledge of the determining factors concerning the perception of meat quality by the consumer, and enable planning better choosing of future strategy in the diversification of meat products and the obtaining of quality labels. The carrying out this project has been made possible by the cooperation between researchers at the Public University of Navarre and the Vacuno de Navarra S. L. and Cooperativa del Vacuno S. Coop. beef sector companies, a collaboration which began in 1993 and which has enabled the obtaining of research results transferred to the beef sector and also enabled advances in the knowledge of meat and useful technical improvements in its production and processing to be made. The research results obtained have enabled the design of a methodology for the classification and evaluation of beef carcasses and meat produced in Navarre to be carried out which, in turn, has provided a good knowledge base for meat characteristics from the physical-chemical and sensorial points of view. The next stage, thus, is to find out the level of acceptability of the meat by the consumer, a study that is currently being undertaken by the researchers on the project. In this way, apart from comparing systems of evaluation for carcasses in the United States and Europe, what the research tries to do is to study the consumers perception of the quality of beef and to design a system of transfer of information thereof. To this end, the physical and chemical characteristics of the beef will be analysed (collagen, instrumental hardness) and sensorial properties by means of trained judging and consumer panels, in order to relate them with the classification of bovine carcases at the abattoir. The material employed in the study will be beef from the Pyrenees breed of cattle. This beef is to be compared with the Aberdeen Angus breed, as obtained, controlled and analysed by the University of Illinois (USA). In this manner, advantage will be taken of the American experience of classification and evaluation of meat. The comparative analysis of beef from both breeds will help to identify the determinant factors in the consumers perception of the quality of beef and enable planning better choosing of future strategy in the diversification of meat products and the obtaining of quality labels.
Spain, United States