The Relationship Between Exsanguination Lactate and Pork Quality

L.N. Edwards1, T. Grandin1, T.E. Engle1, A. Sosnicki2, J.A. Correa3, and D.B. Anderson1
1Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
2PIC, Hendersonville, TN, USA
3F. Menard, Ange-Gardien, Quebec, Canada

2009 International Congress of Meat Science and Technology


Physiological changes associated with immediate pre-slaughter stresses, i.e. increased exsanguination blood lactate concentration, have been shown to have detrimental effects on pork quality causing increased drip loss and lighter color (Hambrecht et al., 2004, 2005; Warriss et al., 1994, 1998). These studies have focused on animal management and stressors immediately before slaughter, not during the entire marketing process.


The objective of these studies was to determine the relationship of preslaughter animal management, from the farm to the meat processing plant, on meat quality.

Materials and Methods

Results and Discussion


These data show that [LAC] was highest at loading on the farm and at exsanguination indicating areas of focus to improve animal handling during marketing.

These data also show that high [LAC] during loading is associated with higher ultimate pH, darker color, and lower drip loss. Therefore, improving pre-slaughter handling at the farm during loading will not necessarily translate to improvements in fresh pork quality traits.

With low-stress loading hihger exsanguination [LAC] was associated with a higher rate of early post mortem metabolism and increased drip loss.

References Cited

Edwards, L.N. 2009. Understanding the retationships between swine behavior, physiology, meat quality, and management to improve animal welfare and reduce in-transit losses within the swine industry. PhD. Thesis, Colorado State university, Ft Collins, CO,USA.

Hambrecht, E., J.J. Esisen, D.J. Newman, C.H.M. Smits, L.A. den Hartog, and M.W.A. Verstegen. 2005. Negative effects of stress immediately before slaughter on pork quality are aggravated by suboptimal transport and lairage conditions. J. Anim. Sci. 83: 440-448.

Hambrecht, E., J.J. Esisen, R.I.J. Nooijen, B.J. Ducro, C.H.M. Smits, L.A. den Hartog, and M.W.A. Verategen. 2004. Preslaughter stress and muscle energy largely determine pork quality at two commercial processing plants. J. Anim. Sci. 82: 1401-1409.

Warris, P.D., S.N. Brown, S.J.M. Adams and I.K. Corlett. 1994. Relationships between subjective and objective assessments of stress at slaughter and meat quality in pigs. Meat Science. 38: 329-340.

Warris, P.D., S.N. Brown, T.G. Knowles, J.E. Edwards, P.J. Kettlewell, and H.J. Guise. 1998. The effect of stocking density in transit on the carcass quality and welfare of slaughter pigs: 2. Results from analysis of blood and meat samples. Meat Science. 50: 447-456.

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