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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 #374544

Research Project: Strategies to Optimize Meat Quality and Composition of Red Meat Animals

Location: Meat Safety and Quality

Title: The Ham Halo condition: Characterization and a possible approach for mitigation

item King, David - Andy
item Shackelford, Steven
item Nonneman, Danny - Dan
item Rohrer, Gary
item Wheeler, Tommy

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2020
Publication Date: 11/30/2020
Citation: King, D.A., Shackelford, S.D., Nonneman, D.J., Rohrer, G.A., Wheeler, T.L. 2020. The Ham Halo condition: Characterization and a possible approach for mitigation. Journal of Animal Science. 98(Supplement 4):96.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Halo condition is a meat quality defect characterized by very pale lean tissue on the superficial portion of fresh ham muscles. This tissue does not allow proper cured color development and has been the subject of customer complaints for ham processors. Surveys of raw materials revealed an issue affecting many suppliers and genetic lines. Further investigation indicated that the condition was most prominent in the distal portion of the biceps femoris muscle and was present in pigs of all ages and stages of production. Halo-affected tissue had much higher proportion of white muscle fibers. Consequently, Halo-affected tissue exhibited much lower myoglobin concentration, as well as much greater lightness, and much lower redness values, compared to normal tissue in the deeper portion of the muscle. These differences are consistent with increased expression of genes coding for white muscle fiber specific proteins in the Halo-affected tissue relative to tissue from the Inside portion of the biceps femoris muscle. Virtually all muscles evaluated have exhibited some degree of the Halo condition, but significant variation exists in the size of the affected portion of the muscle as well as the severity of the condition. Sire has a substantial impact on variation in Halo condition severity. Thus, genetic selection should help mitigate the condition. We will provide an overview of efforts to characterize the Halo condition and discuss genetic selection as a means to mitigate the condition.