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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335633

Title: Effects of marketing group on the quality of fresh and cured hams sourced from a commercial processing facility

item ARKFELD, E.K. - University Of Illinois
item WILSON, K.B. - University Of Illinois
item OVERHOLT, M.F. - University Of Illinois
item HARSH, B.N. - University Of Illinois
item LOWELL, J.E. - University Of Illinois
item HOGAN, E.K. - University Of Illinois
item KLEHM, B.J. - University Of Illinois
item BOHRER, B.M. - University Of Illinois
item KROSCHER, K.A. - University Of Illinois
item PETERSON, B.C. - University Of Illinois
item STITES, C.R. - University Of Illinois
item MOHRHAUSER, D.A. - Smithfield Foods, Inc
item King, David - Andy
item Wheeler, Tommy
item DILGER, A.C. - University Of Illinois
item Shackelford, Steven
item BOLER, D.D. - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2016
Publication Date: 12/29/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Arkfeld, E.K., Wilson, K.B., Overholt, M.F., Harsh, B.N., Lowell, J.E., Hogan, E.K., Klehm, B.J., Bohrer, B.M., Kroscher, K.A., Peterson, B.C., Stites, C.R., Mohrhauser, D.A., King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L., Dilger, A.C., Shackelford, S.D., Boler, D. 2016. Effects of marketing group on the quality of fresh and cured hams sourced from a commercial processing facility. Journal of Animal Science. 94:5144-5154. doi:10.2527/jas2016-0884.

Interpretive Summary: A vast majority of U. S. pigs are sold in marketing groups designed to minimize variation in weight. About 60% of fresh hams are used to make cured hams. Thus the objective of this study was to characterize the effect of marketing group on fresh and cured ham quality. Overall marketing group had little impact on ham quality. Fresh ham quality was not strongly correlated to cured ham quality. Thus, fresh ham quality traits would be of little value as a sorting tool for fresh hams to improve cured ham quality.

Technical Abstract: The objective was: 1) to characterize the effect of marketing 30 group on fresh and cured ham quality, and 2) to determine which fresh ham traits correlated to cured ham quality traits. Pigs raised in 8 barns representing two seasons (hot and cold) and two production focuses (lean and quality) were used. Three groups were marketed from each barn. A total of 7,684 carcasses were used for data collection at the abattoir. Every 10th carcass was noted as a select carcass for in-depth ham quality analyses. Leg primal weight and instrumental color were measured on 100% of the population. On the select 10% of the population, hams were fabricated into sub-primal pieces, and three-piece hams were manufactured to evaluate cured ham quality and processing yield. Data were analyzed as a split-plot design in the MIXED procedure of SAS with production focus as the whole-plot factor, and marketing group as the split-plot factor. Pearson correlation coefficients between fresh and cured ham traits were computed. There were no differences (P = 0.15) in instrumental color or ultimate pH (P = 0.14) among fresh ham muscles from any marketing group. The only exception was the semimembranosus of marketing group 2 was lighter than marketing group 1 (P = 0.03) and the dark portion of the semitendinosus muscle from group 1 was lighter than from group 3 (P = 0.01). There were no There were no differences (P = 0.33) in ultimate pH of fresh ham muscles between production focuses, but several muscles from quality focus pigs were lighter in color than ham muscles from lean focus pigs. The lack of differences in fresh ham quality lead to few differences in cured ham quality. Cured hams from the quality focus pigs had greater lipid content (P < 0.01) than hams from lean focus pigs. Cured lightness values of hams from marketing group 1 and 2 were 1.52 units lighter than hams from marketing group 3 (P = 0.01). Overall, marketing group did not impact ham quality. Fresh ham quality was not strongly related to cured ham quality. Some correlations were present between fresh and cured ham traits, but those relationships were likely not strong enough to be used as a sorting tool for fresh hams to generate high quality cured hams.