It is well understood that many producer inputs influence fresh pork quality. These inputs include swine genetics, nutrition and handling. It is necessary to develop harvest procedures that maintain the quality defined by pre-slaughter inputs. Maintenance of quality is a key component during the harvest and chilling phase of the pork production chain. The results of this project are important because they demonstrate that subtle differences in the harvest process have the potential to improve fresh pork color and water holding capacity. Proteins that contribute to pork color and water holding capacity are damaged by a combination of high temperature and acid (low pH) conditions. The shorter duration of scalding used in this study resulted in an earlier initiation of carcass chilling, a slightly lower loin temperature 2 hours postmortem, and a higher loin pH 2 hours postmortem. The end result is an improvement in pork color and water holding capacity.
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