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 beef chain who work in any of its links, be it production, the meat processing industry, marketing or consumption, find greater productive efficiency and obtain a high-quality end product.
The Diploma in Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality promotes knowledge of the techniques, methods and procedures used in the production of bovine meat, providing strategic tools for the participant to identify and modify the characteristics of the product in the subsequent links of this agri-food chain (industrialization, marketing and consumption) with the aim of improving the technical and economic results of primary meat production, carcass quality, commercial cuts and meat products made from fresh meat.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This unit aims to provide Diplomates with fundamental knowledge on the processing of meat products. The diversity of products is therefore encompassed in three large groups: fresh, cooked and raw-cured, with or without fermentation. Emphasis is placed on quality control of raw materials as well as on the ingredients, additives, supplies and equipment used in each line of process both on an industrial scale and for medium-sized companies. Subsequently, quality control parameters are evaluated in order to eradicate production defects. By way of closing the unit, a review of the current state of innovation and the development in meat products is carried out.
The Bovine By-Products Valorization Unit includes the study of the bovine production chain, emphasizing the by-products / co-products that arise from it, in order to give them commercial use, whether for human, animal or industrial food. The processing of these products is essential in today’s food industries in order to reduce the impact of effluent generation, make industries more sustainable, as well as provide society with new sources of proteins of high biological value.
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.
He is a Veterinarian (UCC), Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Catholic University of Córdoba (UCC) and the National University of La Rioja (UNLaR) in various undergraduate and graduate careers, as well as at the National University of Córdoba, National University of Río Cuarto and Miguel Hernández University (Spain).
He is an expert in Science and Technology of Meat and Meat Products, Master in Science and Food Technology and Doctor in Agricultural Sciences (UCC). He completed his postgraduate training in Meat Science and Technology at IRTA-Monells (Spain).
He is part of the CYTED-Spain International RED, Productos Cárnicos Más Saludables (Healthy Meat). He has more than 16 years of experience in the area of the Meat Industry (inspection, quality control and process management). Today he works as a professor of the Diploma in “Bovine carcass and meat quality” at AgroGlobal.
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 Diploma in Bovine Carcass and Meat Quality is intended for professional agronomists, veterinarians, zootechnical engineers, agricultural production engineers, food engineers and other related professions, as well as those responsible for meat processing industries, slaughterhouses, transporters, livestock consignment companies, commercial chains and supermarkets, quality certifiers and other technicians or people who carry out their work in the areas of production, industrialization, marketing and/or consumption of beef.
Access to the Diploma 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 Diploma at any time during the four-month duration.
Each week they will have a new Unit of the proposed Study Plan advancing in the contents according to their own learning pace.
The Diploma has the personalized and constant accompaniment of a tutor who guides the participant in the learning process as well as the teachers responsible for the dictation and contents of the Degree. A participatory environment is proposed where teachers and students are in permanent contact with the aim of clarifying doubts, deepening the content of interest, and achieving collective contact and enrichment among all participants.
The course has the personalized and constant support of a tutor who guides the students in their learning process, promoting constant interaction.