A livestock genetics company said this week it had identified gene markers that could be bred into pigs to dramatically improve the appearance of fresh pork in supermarkets.
The Pig Improvement Company (PIC) said it could provide breeding stock that would ultimately result in meat with a much less acidic content.
In essence, the breakdown of the lattice work of fibres in the meat, which begins immediately after slaughter, would be slowed to such an extent that unsightly ‘drip loss’ - the escape of water from a piece of meat - could be greatly reduced or even eliminated. The colour of the meat would also stay darker for longer, which would represent another plus for the retailer.
PIC technical sales manager Mark Wilson said: “After price, the most important factor for consumers when choosing meat is its appearance. By maintaining the pH at a higher level, we can enhance this and improve consistency by ensuring the bonds in the meat aren’t broken down so rapidly.”
Wilson said it was possible that pork from animals carrying the relevant genetic marker could be packed without the blotting paper currently used to mop up the juices that escape from the meat on-shelf. “The blotting paper is about treating the symptoms, while our gene technology treats the cause of the problem,” he added.
The technology is about to get an airing in Germany after PIC’s German subsidiary signed an agreement with processor Edeka Südwest Fleisch. Wilson said PIC was talking to retailers and processors in the UK.
Richard Clarke