Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2002
Publication Date: 12/20/2002
Citation: Wheeler, T.L., Vote, D., Leheska, J.M., Shackelford, S.D., Belk, K.E., Wulf, D.M., Gwartney, B.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2002. The efficacy of three objective systems for identifying beef cuts that can be guaranteed tender. Journal of Animal Science. 80:3315-3327.
Interpretive Summary: A number of studies have shown that consumers can differentiate beef that varies in tenderness and are willing to pay some level of premium for guaranteed tender beef. Thus, the beef industry has become very interested in instrument grading for tenderness. The objective of this study was to determine the accuracies of three instrumental systems (Slice Shear Force, BeefCam, and Colorimeter) for identifying guaranteed tender beef. One hundred carcasses each of USDA Select, Low Choice, and High Choice were tested for ribeye, top sirloin, and top round. BeefCam classification could not accurately identify tender cuts for any quality grade or cut of beef. Colorimeter could not accurately identify tender top sirloin or top round for any quality grade or tender USDA Select ribeyes. However, Colorimeter was moderately successful at identifying tender ribeyes across all quality grades. Slice Shear Force accurately identified carcasses with more tender ribeye, top sirloin, and top round cuts regardless of quality grade. The Slice Shear Force system is significantly more accurate than the non-invasive systems (particularly in USDA Select quality grade), allows certification of a greater proportion of carcasses, creates a "guaranteed tender" product that consumers recognize as superior, and enables marketing of multiple cuts, not only the ribeye, as superior in tenderness.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the accuracies of three objective systems (BeefCam, Colorimeter, and Slice Shear Force) for identifying guaranteed tender beef. Three hundred eight carcasses (105 Top Choice, 101 Low Choice, and 102 Select from two commercial plants were tested. The three systems were evaluated based on progressive certification of the longissimus as "tender" in 10% increments (the best 10, 20, 30%, etc., certified as "tender" by each technology; 100% certification would mean no sorting for tenderness). The error (percentage Warner-Bratzler shear force of > 5 kg at 14 d postmortem) for 100% certification using all carcasses was 14.1%. All certification levels up to 80% (Slice Shear Force) and up to 70% (Colorimeter) had less error (P < 0.05) than 100% certification. Errors in all levels of certification by prototype BeefCam (13.8 to 9.7%) were not different (P > 0.05) from 100% certification. The error for 100% certification for USDA Select carcasses was 30.7%. For Select carcasses, all Slice Shear Force certification levels up to 60% (0 to 14.8%) had less error (P < 0.05) than 100% certification. For Select carcasses, errors in all levels of certification by Colorimeter (20.0 to 29.6%) and by BeefCam (27.5 to 31.4%) were not different (P > 0.05) from 100% certification. Thus, Slice Shear Force results in more accurate identification of "tender" beef carcasses than either of the indirect technologies, prototype BeefCam or Colorimeter, particularly for USDA Select carcasses. The Colorimeter may have some usefulness when used across a broad range in marbling. As tested in this study, Slice shear force, but not the BeefCam or Colorimeter systems, accurately identified tender beef.