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Post Harvest Technology :: Livestock


The term meat refers to muscle of warm blooded four legged animals. The chief one being cattle, sheep and pigs. Meat also includes the glands and organs of these animals. Meat products include many of the by-products from animal slaughter such as animal gut used for sausage casings, the fat in the manufacture of lard, gelatin and others.


Veal: It is the meat from cattle slaughtered 3 t o4 weeks after birth.
Calues: Less than 3 to 8 months
Beef: It is the term applied to meat of cattle over 1 year old.
Lamb: Mutton is the flesh of young bovine animals of both sexes whose age is 12 months or under. 
Yearling mutton: Carcasses of young sheep usually from 12 to 20 months old one termed yearling mutton.
Mature mutton: Flesh of both male and female.
Pork: It is the meat of swine.


Ageing of meat

If the meat is held cold for 1 to 2 days after it has completed rigor mortis, the muscle again becomes soft and pliable with improved flavour and juiciness which is called resolution of rigor. Some changes taken place during this period known as ageing or ripening. Beef is usually the only kind of meat that is commercially aged. Lamb and mutton are occasionally aged. Pork is never aged because of its high fat content. Meats are also graded for quality. The quality, consistency and character of juices or extractives contained in muscle fibre also contribute to the quality of meat.

Tenderising meat

Tenderness is the most desired characteristic in meat. There are different methods of tenderising meat.

  1. Cold room storage results in the ripening of meat with tenderising from the meats natural enzymes.
  2. The mechanical methods of tenderising meats include pounding, cutting, grinding, needling or pinning and the use of ultrasonic vibrations. Mechanical methods cut or break the muscle fibres and connective tissues.
  3. The art of using enzymes for tenderising meats is an old one. Wrapping of meat in papaya leaves before cooking results in tenderisation.
  4. Meat may be tenderized by the use of low levels of salts. Salts increase the water holding capacity of muscle fibres resulting in tenderness and juiciness.
  5. Another method of increasing tenderness in meat is by change of pH.
  6. Exercised animals give tender meat.

Curing of meat

Curing brings about the modification in meat that affects preservation, unique flavour, red colour and tenderness due to added curing agents. The ingredients used for curing are common salt, sodium nitrate or nitrite, sugar and spices. Nitrite fixes the red colour of myoglobin, develops flavour and inhibits Clostridium botulinum. Spices are added mainly for flavour.

Cuts and grades of meat

Meat carcasses are commonly divided into relatively larger whole sale cuts and these are further divided into smaller retail cuts. Meats are also graded for quality. The quality, consistency and character of juices or extractives contained in muscle fibre also contribute to the quality.

NUTRITIVE VALUE OF ANIMAL FOODS (Click here to download the PDF file)


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