Tag Archives: dark cutter

October, the start of dark cutting beef season

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… Read More →

Dark-cutting beef

To understand “dark-cutting beef,” it is necessary to understand how the bright red color of beef occurs. At death, the muscle attempts to maintain all normal activities. To do so, it must have energy in the form of ATP. To get ATP, it breaks down glycogen through postmortem glycolysis. A by-product of postmortem glycolysis is lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in the muscle over a 16 to 24 hour period post-slaughter. A normal level of lactic acid (pH of 5.6) in the muscle will cause the meat… Read More →