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Canadian pork classification under development

New tools being developed to improve and standardise the classification of Canadian pork will improve the ability of processors to meet the quality demands of international customers.

25 June 2019, at 11:11am

Scientists working in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are creating new tools to assist the Canadian pork sector in developing a standardised pork classification system based on the quality attributes most desired by export customers.

Speaking to Farmscape, Dr Manuel Juárez, a Livestock Phenomics Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Lacombe Research and Development Centre, says the goal is to expand on existing grading standards.

“The original idea was to start with the loin because it is still the standard,” says Dr Juárez.

“In the initial stage, we could guarantee there wouldn't be any PSE (pale soft exudative) meat or low-quality pork in the shipment to the buyer if it has been guaranteed by this grade of quality from Canada.

“The second stage would go farther and then be able to guarantee a minimum colour and marbling for those primals going to buyers willing to pay a premium.

“Then the next phase would be to do something similar with all the primals, with the bellies, with the shoulders, with the hams.

“We are working with that concept and developing ideas, working with the packers, identifying quality traits that have value and then working with different technologies that have the potential to provide this information in plants with different volumes.

“The idea is that at the end of the project we will be able to come up with a series of approaches and technologies that can accurately classify primals based on specific quality traits to guarantee that quality to the buyer.”

Dr Juárez says this approach is being taken by individual companies, sometimes using subjective measures, sometimes using available technologies. Expanding this common approach will enhance the Canadian pork label around the world as a high-quality product for buyers.