Modality: Virtual course
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality
Taking into account the changes that have occurred in beef producing countries in recent years, livestock farming is facing new opportunities for growth, development and market capture.
In order to promote this new environment in both domestic and export business applied technical knowledge and resource management of livestock companies are extremely relevant.
For this reason, it is essential that the people involved in the entire beef chain collaborate with livestock producers to find the way to obtaining highest efficiency and quality products.
General objective of the course
"Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality" promotes the knowledge of techniques, methods and procedures used in Beef Production, supplying strategic tools for the participant to identify the possibilities of the product in the subsequent links of this agri-food chain (industrialization, marketing and consumption), in order to improve the technical and economic results of bovine meat production and its by-products.
INTRODUCTION TO QUALITY
The quality of a product is a very broad concept; it changes over time and also according to the region or country where the consumer has to evaluate it.
In this first module of the course we will analyze the meaning of Quality. The word "quality" is a noun and not an adjective. For this reason, one can speak of "poor quality", "fair quality" or "excellent quality". However, in the imaginary of the population, where meat producers, sellers and consumers are included, this word is generally associated with something good or positive.
We will see that there are numerous factors that will condition the results of the quality obtained in each of the stages of the chain, as well as that the concept of quality is different for each actor in the chain (farmer, slaughterhouse/industrial plant, butcher, consumer).
WHAT IS MEAT?
To understand a large part of the contents that we will see throughout the course, it is necessary to know the muscle first. Edible meat includes the transformations that the muscle undergoes after the death of the animal. We will see simple but necessary concepts.
These include the bovine growth waves, the different tissues that are important from a commercial point of view (muscle, fat and bone) and how they are deposited throughout the life of the animal, which are the different types of adipose tissue that are of commercial interest, as well as the importance of bovine meat consumption due to the high nutritional value it represents.
QUALITY IN THE FARM
Knowledge of all the factors that influence the obtaining of a good quality butcher animal is essential to achieve a suitable product in the first link of the chain. If this does not happen, it will not be posible to obtain a neither a high quality carcass nor high quality beef.
Therefore, in this module we will analyze the bovine's own factors (breed, gender, age, muscle types) that will determine the butcher quality of the live animal. We will also see the other productive factors that will affect the genetic potential of the animal to produce meat, i.e., nutrition and food, health, use of growth promotants and certain management practices such as castration. The amount and coloration of muscle, as well as fat, will be decisive at the time of sale.
Currently animal welfare is a non-negotiable good and all markets in the world demand its compliance. Throughout this module we will see that the mistreatment and general mishandling of cattle cause quantitative losses at the time of commercialization and slaughter. We will also verify that animals suffer both physical and mental stress and that such stress will irreversibly alter the quality of the meat that reaches the consumer.
Based on this, we will see how to make an appropriate treatment to minimize the negative consequences on the living animal, its carcass and its meat. The use of flags during handling in the farm and in the pens of the slaughterhouse is a visual tool that helps move livestock without causing stress. To finish we will see how the transport of the animals should be carried out, referring both to the physical characteristics of the trucks and to the general handling and conditions of the trip to the industrial plant.
The commercialization modality of the bovine cattle determines that the livestock producer receives the payment based on the butcher quality of the live animal or its half carcass. Once the troop of animals is received in the slaughterhouse, their handling prior to slaughter will be decisive in the quality of the meat obtained.
In this module we will see all the steps that make up the slaughter of animals and the classification and typification of the half carcasses, emphasizing the new automated typification systems that are already working in many countries.
We will see the importance of the butcher conformation of the carcass and its fattening state. At the end of this module we will learn about how to recognize the gender and age of an animal through the half carcass, as well as the feeding system in which it has been produced.
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND PROCESSING
Once the animals have been slaughtered, their half carcasses are placed in cold chambers under controlled conditions of temperature, humidity and air circulation. Subsequently, the quartering, butchering and preparation of the commercial cuts are carried out. The industry uses two methods of preserving meat: refrigeration and freezing. We will analyze the characteristics of both and how a correct handling must be done so as not to alter the quality of the meat and prolong its shelf life.
In addition, the different commercial cuts obtained from beef, their destination for the domestic or international markets, as well as the commercial yield and integration of the half carcass will be analyzed. We will finish the unit considering the importance of beef aging, that is to say, the period of rest before its consumption and that has vital importance in certain sensory characteristics such as tenderness, aroma and color.
Among all the fresh products, we can affirm that bovine meat has the shortest commercial life of all. One of the factors that will affect this shelf life is its hygienic quality. In this module we will see what are the main contaminants in meat during the slaughter process in the slaughterhouse and also during its resting in the cold chamber, its transport, handling and packaging. Pollution prevention measures and methods to detect it will be analyzed.
We will not only consider the microorganisms that cause the decomposition of meat, and that alter its commercial life, but also those that cause food poisoning. We will see the main microorganisms present according to the type of packaging used and which are the recommended chilling temperatures to prevent microbial growth. In this sense, the different types of refrigerators used in the commercial stage have a direct relationship with the shelf life of the product.
MARKETING AND TRACEABILITY
During its commercialization it is of paramount importance to achieve color stability to prolong the commercial life of the meat. The pigment responsible for the color of the meat presents different chemical states that will be determining at the time of sale. Pro and antioxidant factors will be conditioning not only the pigment responsible for color but also fats.
In this module we will see the main meat packaging methods, analyzing advantages and disadvantages of each of them. The type of packaging, labeling and quality marks and seals play a predominant role during marketing. We will assess new technologies in terms of the types of packaging that are already being used in some countries. We will finish the module analyzing the traceability of the product, that is, its history, another of the conditions that is currently considered worldwide as a "non-negotiable" good.
CONSUMPTION AND SENSORY QUALITY
The meat quality chain does not end at the time of purchase but rather of consumption. For this, the meat must be cooked by subjecting it to different cooking methods. This heating or temperature increase causes physical-chemical changes, altering, in addition, all its sensory characteristics. Tenderness is the characteristic that will present the most variations, being conditioned by an important number of factors.
We will analyze the main organoleptic characteristics of meat and the biological and technological factors that affect it. Tests with panels of tasters and consumers are used throughout the world to evaluate the final quality of the meat and adapt it to the taste of the consumer.
To conclude, we will see what are the current trends in product quality demanded by consumers in different countries.
Ricardo I. Consigli
Ing. Agr. Esp. M.Sc.
He is an Agricultural Engineer and Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Córdoba (UNC) and the Catholic University of Córdoba (UCC) in various undergraduate and graduate degrees. He specialized in Animal Production at the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM, based in France) obtaining the title of "Master of Science in Animal Production" in 1994. He is a livestock producer.
He has more than 28 years of experience in the area of Beef Quality, expanding his work discipline to Animal Welfare and the influence on animal production, the quality of carcass and beef. Today he works as a teacher of the course "Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality" at AgroGlobal.
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AGROGLOBAL training is aimed at people who seek to develop personally and professionally in order to respond to the current challenges of the activity.
The course "Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality" is intended for professional agricultural engineers, veterinary doctors, zootechnical engineers, agricultural production engineers, managers of meat processing industries, butchers, cattle consignment companies, commercial chains and supermarkets, and other technicians or people responsible for areas in the production, industrialization and/or marketing of beef.
WHY STUDY IN AGROBLOBAL?
Access to the course is done from the Virtual Campus, where technological means and pedagogical tools are integrated to create an effective and comprehensive learning experience.
Participants access the virtual campus and the course whenever they want during the duration of the course, advancing in the proposed contents according to their learning rhythm.
A participatory environment is proposed where the teacher and students can interact to build learning.
On this proposed tour, you will work with:
- Multimedia Contents: our platform integrates interactive lessons and videos, which facilitate learning.
- Webinars: Through this optional resource, students can meet online with the teacher to share virtual classes. In them, they will be able to make live consultations and enhance the training journey.
- Access to the virtual library: compendium of online materials to deepen the content and enrich your training journey.
- Collaborative learning: tools that allow building learning through collaboration, such as wikis, forums, chat, debates, discussion groups and news, that will promote the exchange and networking.
- Online assessments and final exams with automated report cards.
The course has the personalized and constant support of a tutor who guides the students in their learning process, promoting constant interaction.
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