Submitted to: Meat Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2004
Publication Date: 1/20/2005
Citation: Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2005. On-line classification of US select beef carcasses for longissimus tenderness using visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Meat Science. 69:409-415.
Interpretive Summary: U.S. Select cuts are currently marketed at a discount relative to U.S. Choice cuts despite the fact that many cuts from U.S. Select carcasses are very tender. Consumers have shown a strong willingness to pay a premium for "Tender Select" cuts that combine superior tenderness with the leanness of Select. Therefore, meat retailers have expressed strong interest in marketing a "Tender Select" product line. However, beef packing companies have not been able to meet the needs of the retailers because non-invasive methods to predict tenderness, such as Beefcam and colorimeter, have been ineffective for classifying Select carcasses. Thus, there is a need to develop a non-invasive method to accurately identify U.S. Select carcasses that excel in meat tenderness. Several studies have shown that near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy can be used to predict beef tenderness. However, the procedures used in those studies were either destructive in that they required excision of a muscle sample for spectroscopy or they were limited to sampling a very small area and, thus, would be highly-subject to error induced by non-representative sampling of the target muscle. We developed a highly-repeatable method for on-line spectroscopic evaluation of longissimus quality traits of ribbed beef carcasses using a high-intensity reflectance probe that allowed for sampling of a representative portion of the exposed longissimus cross-section of ribbed beef carcasses. Therefore, the current experiment was conducted to evaluate the on-line application of visible and near-infrared spectroscopy to U.S. Select carcasses during commercial beef carcass grading procedures to predict how tender longissimus steaks from a carcass would be after 14 days of refrigerated storage. The present experiment indicates that U.S. Select carcasses can be non-invasively classified for longissimus tenderness using visible and near-infrared spectroscopy. This technology might be useful for identification of U.S. Select carcasses that excel in longissimus tenderness for use in branded beef programs.
Technical Abstract: The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the on-line application of visible and near-infrared spectroscopy (VISNIR) to U.S. Select carcasses during commercial beef carcass grading procedures to predict how tender longissimus steaks from a carcass would be after 14 days of refrigerated storage. A regression model was calibrated using 146 carcasses and tested against an additional 146 carcasses. Carcasses were segregated into VISNIR-based tenderness classes based on whether their VISNIR-predicted slice shear force value was less than (tender) or greater than (tough) the median predicted slice shear force value. Carcasses classified as tender by VISNIR had a lower mean SSF value, were less likely to have slice shear force values greater than 25 kg, had higher trained sensory panel tenderness ratings, and were less likely to have trained sensory panel tenderness ratings below slightly tender than carcasses classified as tough (P < .001). This technology might be useful for identification of U.S. Select carcasses that excel in longissimus tenderness.