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Meat Quality By Breed

Meat Quality

Meat Quality of Pure Breeds of Swine

The ultimate goal of pork production is to satisfy consumers - both domestically and internationally. Genetic differences in pork quality among swine breeds have been shown in several large industry quality evaluation programs. These differences give the purebred pork industry an opportunity to design superior pork products for specific markets.

The National Genetic Evaluation Program, coordinated by the National Pork Producers Council, was designed to identify differences between genetic lines as they are used in commercial pork production. This project provides an unbiased genetic evaluation to producers of all sizes. A very high level of statistical accuracy and extensive sampling of many genetic lines was built into the program so producers will have confidence in using the results to guide their genetic programs.

Some of the results of pure breed performance regarding several important loin quality traits are shown in the following table:




1. Color is measured by Minolta reflectance where a lower score is darker.

2. Intra muscular fat content of loin. Consumers prefer higher levels.

3. Ultimate pH. Higher values are related to better tenderness.

4. Tenderness of cooked loin. Lower scores are more tender.

5. Juiciness score of cooked loin. Higher scores are more juicy.

These results support the use of Duroc seed stock for the highest quality pork due to excellent IMF, Tender and juiciness, however all four breeds produce very acceptable pork. Industry benchmarks, when evaluated by the National Pork Producers Council, state that at least 2% IMF is needed for consumer acceptance, with all four brands meeting this standard.


Rodney Goodwin, Ph.D., Director of Research

National Pork Producers Council