Canadian beef tenderness survey: 2001-2011
A large survey across Canada was developed collecting retail beef samples in 2001 (702 steaks) and 2011 (602 steaks). The samples (strip loin, top sirloin, inside round and cross-rib steaks) were evaluated for instrumental tenderness using standard procedures for sampling, storage, cooking and texture evaluation. New equations were also developed in order to compare the results obtained in these studies with consumer thresholds developed in Canada and the United States of America. In general, retail steaks collected in 2011 weighed less and showed higher fat thickness than those from 2001. Regarding tenderness, a significant improvement was observed, especially for strip loin and top sirloin steaks between 2001 and 2011. Using US threshold categories, the percentage of "tender" samples improved for the strip loin (2001=89%; 2011=99%), top sirloin (2001=70%; 2011=87%), inside round (2001=52%; 2011=61%) and cross-rib (2001=65%; 2011=76%) steaks. Similarly, the percentage of "tough" samples shifted from 5, 8 27 and 13% for the strip loin, top sirloin, inside round and cross-rib steaks in 2001 to 1, 5, 13, and 8%, respectively, in 2011. Similar improvements were observed when using the more descriptive four-category Canadian threshold system. These improvements may be due to changes in the animal population, production systems, carcass processing and distribution/handling prior to display in Canada.
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