This is the first report of marbling in New Zealand pasture finished lamb. Marbling and meat quality data were collected on 1,056 loins from pasture finished lambs. Marbling was subjectively assessed on loin cut surfaces, using a five point visual scale (1 = Low, 5 = High), and objectively assessed using computer tomography (CT) scanning. Tenderness was objectively measured on loins that had been frozen. Corresponding loins from the lambs with the fifty highest (High) and fifty lowest (Low) subjective marbling scores were taste panelled after chilled storage. The average subjective scores were 2.94 and 0.94 for the High and Low groups respectively, with the objectively measured CT fat percentages 8.0% and 10.0% respectively, both significant differences (P <0.001). Loins from the High group were significantly (P <0.01) more tender than loins from the Low group as assessed objectively, however, this difference was not detected by the taste panel when assessing texture. The taste panel did not detect any significant differences in juiciness, flavour or odour between the two groups. Our findings suggest that this level of marbling in pasture fed, New Zealand chilled stored lamb is insufficient to influence meat quality as assessed by a taste panel.

EA, Young, WE Bain, NJ McLean, AW Campbell, and Johnson PL

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 69, Christchurch, 104-107, 2009
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