October, the start of dark cutting beef season

dark cutting beef
dark cutting beef

Beef ribeye from dark cutting beef carcass

With the arrival of October each year, at least in North America, the incidence rate for dark cutting beef begins to increase. Dark cutting beef is the result of long-term stress where cattle deplete glycogen stores in the muscle before slaughter resulting in less lactic acid being produced in the post-mortem muscle that would normally produce the bright cherry-red beef color in the lean. As the name implies, the lean is darker in color because it has a higher pH than normal beef. While there are many factors that can lead to long-term stress in cattle throughout the year, the arrival of the first major cold fronts where temperatures drop dramatically is a sure sign that the incidence rate will begin to rise at least for a time until the weather begins to become more consistent with fewer wide temperature swings.

The best evidence of this seasonality was reported by Boykin et al. (2017) in the National Beef Quality Audit – 2016. Instrument grading information was obtained from beef packers throughout the year to look at a variety of carcass characteristics, including the incidence of dark cutters. The chart below represents the findings of the month-to-month variation in dark cutting incidence.

Dark cutting incidence, by month, 2016

Dark cutting incidence, by month, 2016

While there is nothing that can be done about the weather, working to minimize other sources of long-term stress through proper handling, transport, and holding at the packing plant may be helpful during this time. Current international research is focusing on factors such as grass- versus grain-feeding, muscle fiber types, and other conditions that may increase the risk of the occurrence of dark cutting beef.

By the way, the reference to North America above is that in the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite occurs with more dark cutting occurring as fall arrives in March and April.

Source:

Boykin, C. A., L. C. Eastwood, M. K. Harris, D. S. Hale, C. R. Kerth, D. B. Griffin, A. N. Arnold, J. D. Hasty, K. E. Belk, D. R. Woerner, R. J. Delmore, Jr., J. N. Martin, D. L. VanOverbeke, G. G. Mafi, M. M. Pfeiffer, T. E. Lawrence, T. J. McEvers, T. B. Schmidt, R. J. Maddock, D. D. Johnson, C. C. Carr, J. M. Scheffler, T. D. Pringle, A. M. Stelzleni, J. Gottlieb, and J. W. Savell. 2017. National Beef Quality Audit-2016: Survey of carcass characteristics through instrument grading assessments. J. Anim. Sci. 95:3003-3011. doi:10.2527/jas2017.1544. [Journal of Animal Science link] [PubMed link]

2020 Introductory HACCP Courses and Beyond Basics Workshops announced

Kerri Gehring helping participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop
Kerri Gehring helping participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop

Kerri Gehring helping participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop

The 2020 dates for Introductory HACCP Course and Beyond Basics: HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop have been set. All courses are taught in the Kleberg Center on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas by Kerri Gehring and Jeff Savell from the Department of Animal Science.

Introductory HACCP Course

  • May 5-6, 2020
  • December 1-2, 2020

Registration: Introductory HACCP Course

Beyond Basics: HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop

  • May 7-8, 2020
  • November 5-6, 2020

Registration: Beyond Basics Workshop

For more information, contact Tiffany Walsingham at 979-862-3643 or twalsingham@tamu.edu.

2019 Center of the Plate Training held at Texas A&M University

Davey Griffin at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training
Davey Griffin at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Davey Griffin at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

The 2019 Center of the Plate Training, sponsored by the North American Meat Institute, was held at the Rosenthal Meat Center at Texas A&M University on June 18-20, 2019. The Center of the Plate Training is designed for purchasers and sellers of meat and poultry to better understand the nomenclature and utilization of cuts for the foodservice and retail sectors. Ann Wells, Director, Education and Workforce Development, North American Meat Institute, is the coordinator of the program, and Davey Griffin, professor and Extension meat specialist, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, provided on-campus leadership and served as the primary cutting instructor for the beef, veal, lamb, and pork portions of the program. Jeff Savell, distinguished professor of animal science, and Chris Kerth, associate professor of animal science, also helped with delivery of the program.

Davey Griffin reading from the Meat Buyer's Guide

Davey Griffin reading from the Meat Buyer’s Guide

The North American Meat Institute conducts the Center of the Plate Training in conjunction with the American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Science Association, Chicago Midwest Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association, Southeastern Meat Association, and Canadian Meat Council. Sponsors included the Beef Checkoff, the Pork Checkoff, the Lamb Checkoff, and Merck Animal Health. Representatives from the American Lamb Board, and the National Pork Board participated in the program.

Davey Griffin talking about anatomy

Davey Griffin talking about anatomy

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

The Center of the Plate Training is conducted in a classroom environment. Over 90 participants interacted with the instructors who performed cutting demonstrations showing where the cuts came from and the numbering and nomenclature system used to describe them. The Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS), maintained and published by the United States Department of Agriculture, are the basis for all product identification. The North American Meat Institute publishes the Meat Buyer’s Guide, which provides a pictorial description of the IMPS and is the workbook used throughout the training program.

Davey Griffin breaking a beef forequarter

Davey Griffin breaking a beef forequarter

Davey Griffin talking about beef rib cuts

Davey Griffin talking about beef rib cuts

The pork portion of the training was conducted by Jimmy Murray and Clay Eastwood of the National Pork Board with assistance from Davey Griffin.

Jim Murray and Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, and Davey Griffin, cutting pork at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, talking about pork quality at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, talking about pork quality at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, cutting pork

Clay Eastwood, National Pork Board, cutting pork

The poultry portion of the training was conducted by members of the Agricultural Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Richard Lawson and Gerald Laird led the discussion on poultry grading, terminology, and common uses of specific poultry products.

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, talking about poultry standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, talking about poultry standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, discussing poultry grading

Gerald Laird and Richard Lawson, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, discussing poultry grading

Richard Lawson talking about poultry grading standards at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Richard Lawson talking about poultry grading standards

Gerald Laird talking about poultry products

Gerald Laird talking about poultry products

The final portion of the program was a discussion of processed meats led by Chris Kerth. Kerth gave a presentation on processed meat ingredients and labeling, and he showed a variety of locally available processed meat products and the labels and marketing claims made for each.

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling at the NAMI Center of the Plate Training

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling

Chris Kerth talking about meat and poultry labeling

Texas A&M University has hosted the Center of the Plate Training since 2005, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with the North American Meat Institute on this program each year.

Pork 101™ will be held at Texas A&M University, May 21-23, 2019

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Pork 101™ grading exercise

Pork 101™ grading exercise

Register today for the next American Meat Science Association’s (AMSA) PORK 101™ to be held in May 21-23, 2019 at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. PORK 101 is hosted by AMSA in cooperation with the National Pork Board and is sponsored by Merck Animal Health.

Jeff Savell instructing pork cutting

Jeff Savell instructing pork cutting

Attendees will experience firsthand the swine industry from live animal production through finished pork products. The course concludes with the attendees preparing and sampling products from pork carcasses including pumped loins, bacon, hams, and sausage.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the value differences in swine, pork carcasses, pork primals and processed pork products from meat science faculty and AMSA members at each university.

Hillary Martinez and Leslie Frenzel leading Pork 101 cutting group

Hillary Martinez and Leslie Frenzel leading Pork 101 cutting group

PORK 101 is co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), North American Meat Institute (NAMI), Southeastern Meat Association (SEMA),and the Southwest Meat Association (SMA). Registration for AMSA members and other partnering organizations is $825. Non-member registration is $975. Companies or organizations sending more than one person to the course are eligible for a discount! Space is limited for each course so make sure to register soon!

For more information or questions regarding PORK 101, please go online or contact Deidrea Mabry dmabry@meatscience.org.

2019 Introductory HACCP Courses and Beyond Basics Workshops announced

Kerri Gehring assisting participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Workshop
Kerri Gehring assisting participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Workshop

Kerri Gehring assisting participants at Beyond Basics HACCP Plan Workshop

The 2019 dates for Introductory HACCP Course and Beyond Basics: HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop have been set. All courses are taught in the Kleberg Center on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas by Kerri Gehring and Jeff Savell from the Department of Animal Science.

Introductory HACCP Course

  • March 20-21-2019
  • September 4-5, 2019
  • December 10-11, 2019

Registration: https://secure.touchnet.com/C21490_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5280

Beyond Basics: HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop

  • May 7-8, 2019
  • November 6-7, 2019

Registration: https://secure.touchnet.com/C21490_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5281

For more information, contact Tiffany Walsingham at 979-862-3643 or twalsingham@tamu.edu.

2019 Creative Sausage making Course at Texas A&M

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2019 Creative Sausage Making participants, assistants and instructors behind coolers full of the sausage they made.

The sixth annual Creative Sausage Making class was held on January 11-12, 2019 at the Rosenthal Meat Center. CSM is a joint venture between  the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.   Thirty participants, representing barbecue companies, foodservice distributors, retailers, chefs and backyard enthusiasts came to learn sausage production from start to finish.

Dr. Osburn led the classroom discussions and presented the science behind sausage manufacturing.

During the program, participants learned the science of basic sausage production, differences in casing types, sausage cooking/smoking and food safety.  With the assistance of Meat Science graduate students and faculty, and additional technical support from Rick Fitzgerald (A.C. Legg) and Greg Mueller (World Casing Corporation), participants formulated their own batches of both fresh and cured/smoked sausage, stuffed them in natural casings and prepared them for packaging or cooking.

Trent Schwartz helped participants develop their spice blend to make fresh sausage.

Dr. Osburn kept a watchful eye over the tables as the participants formulated their seasonings.

Martin Wu weighed raw materials for his group.

Our new friends from Alabama grinding raw materials.

Zena Hicks overseeing raw material grinding.

Rick Fitzgerald with A.C. Legg has assisted with teaching at Creative Sausage Making and has provided spices for use during the camp and for the participants to take home with them. He has been providing this service every year since we began hosting the workshop.

Greg Mueller with World Casing Corporation provided the natural casing used at the workshop and was there to provide assistance to participants as well as the instructors during the laboratories.

Hanna Laird working with her group during Creative Sausage Making.

Kathy Modrow assisting Mackensie Ditta.

Kayley Wall working with her group.

Eric Hamilton overseeing sausage linking.

Kayley Wall teaching sausage linking.

Martin Wu helping to stuff and link.

Sausage linking.

John Baker running the stuffer.

Brogan Horton helping her group stuff.

Dr. Osburn advising

Fresh sausage made by CSM participants.

Fresh sausage made by CSM participants.

After the sausage was made, the students assisting with the program took over.  They made sure that each participant’s product was properly labeled, then the fresh sausage was chilled and packaged.  The cured/smoked products were hung on sticks, placed on a smokehouse truck and cooked in the smokehouse at the Rosenthal Meat Center.  When the products were  cooking and chilling, the products were packaged, matched with each person’s fresh sausage and placed in individual Texas A&M coolers for distribution.

Starting off Day 2, Dr. Matt Taylor and his students led the class through some practical ways to maintain food safety as they take their newly developed sausage making skills back home.

Dr. Wes Osburn and Dr. Davey Griffin led and coordinated the program, respectively.  A tremendous group of Meat Science graduate and undergraduate students started preparing for the course earlier in the week by making example batches of each of the sausage products available for participants to make during the workshop.  The products that they made were sampled during the last day of the program to give participants a better idea of what to expect from their own products when they got back home.

It takes a great deal of help and service to make workshops a success.  Students involved in making products, leading groups, cleaning the lab and helping with all the behind-the-scenes activities included Chi-heng (Martin) Wu, Eric Hamilton, Brogan Horton, Hannah Laird, Kathy Modrow, Cassie Peña, Jacob Valenta, Kayley Wall, Morgan Foster, Zena Hicks, Rory James, Trent Schwartz, Holly Sanders, Wilsey Wendler, Ty Robertson and many others.  Without their help, none of this would be possible.

TAMU Crew at CSM

The Creative Sausage making class has been conducted each January for the past six years.  If you are interested in coming to the next class, email Dr. Davey Griffin at dgriff@tamu.edu to be put on the advance notice list for next year’s course.

Understanding USDA beef quality grades factsheet available

Understanding USDA beef quality grades

Understanding USDA beef quality gradesWe have prepared a factsheet entitled, Understanding USDA beef quality grades, for those who are interested in learning more about the USDA beef quality grades.

Understanding USDA beef quality grades

Citation for this factsheet:

Griffin, D. B., and J. W. Savell. 2018. Understanding USDA beef quality grades. https://meat.tamu.edu/files/2018/10/Understanding-USDA-beef-quality-grades.pdf (Accessed October 26, 2018.)

Papers presented at ICoMST 2018 in Melbourne, Australia

Ashley Arnold presenting her work at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia
Ashley Arnold presenting her work at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Ashley Arnold presenting her work at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Rhonda Miller, Gordon Carstens, Ashley Arnold, Kayley Wall, Chris Kerth, and Jeff Savell of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University participated in and presented papers at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST), which was held in Melbourne, Australia on August 12-17, 2018. Arnold presented her paper during the oral sessions and the rest of the papers were presented during the poster sessions.

Kayley Wall (right) discussing the findings of her research at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Kayley Wall (right) discussing the findings of her research at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Kayley Wall

Kayley Wall

Rhonda Miller discussing her poster at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Rhonda Miller discussing her poster at the 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology in Melbourne, Australia

Rhonda Miller

Rhonda Miller

There were approximately 450 attendees from countries around the world in Australia for the 64th ICoMST meetings. Sessions included provenance and fraud detection; food safety and microbiology; revolution in biometrics and consumer sensory sciences; value adding to meat and offal; next generation technologies to assess carcass and meat quality; glycolytic and proteolytic metabolism across species; smart packaging for quality, safety, and integrity; dietary muscle proteins for stage of life; and process control in the meat industry.

Papers

Here are the five papers presented at the conference:

Arnold, A. N., A. D. Belk, K. J. Nickelson, J. E. Sawyer, D. B. Griffin, T. M. Taylor, J. W. Savell, and K. B. Gehring. 2018. Impact of feeding stage, cattle source, and season on Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes. In: Proc. 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, Melbourne, Australia. 

Miller, R. K., H. L. Laird, B. A. Beavers, C. R. Kerth, E. Chambers, IV, K. Adhikari, and S. Wang. 2018. Relationship between descriptive flavor and texture attributes and consumer liking of ground beef. In: Proc. 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Poster 2F82.

Parsons, I. L., G. E. Carstens, C. A. Olson, J. R. Johnson, W. C. Kayser, D. S. Hale, and R. K. Miller. 2018. Effects of residual feed intake classification on carcass-value traits in finishing beef cattle. In: Proc. 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Poster 3K230.

Tindel, S. B., A. R. Murray, A. N. Arnold, R. K. Miller, D. B. Griffin, K. B. Gehring, and J. W. Savell. 2018. Palatability and tenderness evaluation of beef top sirloin steaks from subprimals subjected to blade tenderization, postmortem aging or freezing treatments. In: Proc. 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Poster 3K276.

Wall, K., C. R. Kerth, and R. K. Miller. 2018. Metabolomics of cooked grass- or grain-fed beef steaks differing in marbling content and country of origin. In: Proc. 64th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Poster 2F87.

Students participate in Southwest Meat Association Annual Convention and Suppliers Showcase

Chandler Steele, Meghan Clancy, Holly Sanders, Jason Shamburger, and Brogan Horton
Students: Chandler Steele, Meghan Clancy, Holly Sanders, Jason Shamburger, and Brogan Horton

Students Chandler Steele, Meghan Clancy, Holly Sanders, Jason Shamburger, and Brogan Horton at Southwest Meat Association 62nd Annual Convention and Suppliers Showcase

Students from the Department of Animal Science participated in the Southwest Meat Association’s 62nd Annual Convention and Suppliers Showcase. Many of the students were there to receive a variety of scholarships including the Bob Ondrusek Memorial Scholarships, SMA Hall of Fame Scholarships, and SMA Foundation Scholarships. The SMIKids graduate and undergraduate scholarships were presented to Chandler Steele and Bo Garcia, respectively.

Chandler Steele, Ciarra Gawlik, and Meghan Clancy at SMA Convention

Chandler Steele, Ciarra Gawlik, and Meghan Clancy

Bo Garcia and Jason Shamburger

Bo Garcia and Jason Shamburger

In additional to attending the technical and social aspects of the convention, the students participated in the Suppliers Showcase where they visited with the attendees updating them on the various programs going on in the department.

Caitlyn Harmon and Sarah Bludau

Caitlyn Harmon and Sarah Bludau

Two students, Sarah Bludau and Caitlyn Harmon, served as interns during the convention. Both Sarah and Caitlyn gained valuable experience assisting with many of the activities associated with the convention and suppliers showcase.

 

Bo Garcia receives SMIKids undergraduate scholarship for 2018-2019

Burley Smith presenting Bo Garcia with SMIKids Undergraduate Scholarship
Burley Smith presenting Bo Garcia with SMIKids Undergraduate Scholarship

Burley Smith presenting Bo Garcia with SMIKids Undergraduate Scholarship

Bryan “Bo” Garcia, a junior animal science major at Texas A&M University, is this year’s undergraduate recipient of the SMIKids Scholarship.  Bo was presented the scholarship at the 62nd Annual Southwest Meat Association Convention and Supplier’s Showcase held at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort, San Antonio, Texas on July 21, 2018. The SMIKids Scholarships are given by the Burley Smith family to undergraduate and graduate students at Texas A&M University interested in the meat industry.

Bo is from La Vernia, Texas and is an active member of the Department of Animal Science. Upon graduation, his goal is to obtain a Master’s degree and Ph.D. so that he can pursue a career in academia. He is a member of the 2018 Fightin’ Texas Aggie Meat Judging Team, and he is currently interning at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. Bo also received the SMA Foundation Scholarship at the convention.

Congratulations to Bo for receiving this scholarship!