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The most important factors known to influence the eating quality of beef are well established and include both pre- and post-slaughter events with many of the determinants interacting with each other. A substantial programme of work has been conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland aimed at quantifying those factors of most importance to the local beef industry. Post-slaughter effects such as carcase chilling and electrical stimulation, ageing, carcase hanging and cooking method have been shown to have a significant impact on eating quality when compared with pre-slaughter activities such as animal handling and lairage time in the Northern Ireland studies. However, the effect of animal breed, particularly the use of dairy breed animals, was shown to significantly improve eating quality. Many of these factors were found to interact with each other.
Mixing of cattle prior to slaughter which results in aggressive activity (Mohan Raj et al 1992) leads to glycogen depletion pre-slaughter and subsequently meat with a higher ultimate pH (pHu). Purchas et al (1990) reported a quadratic relationship between pHu and tenderness with highest shear force values recorded between pHu 5.8 to 6.2. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of fasting and mixing of steers prior to slaughter on the meat eating quality of longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle.