Surveys on the tenderness of Swiss beef: 2009 and 2014

The tenderness of beef in nine different muscles sold as steaks was investigated in two studies (2009 and 2014) by measuring shear force according to Warner-Bratzler (WBSF).The meat in each survey originated from 39 artisanal butcher shops (ABs) or hyper-/supermarkets butcher shop (HSMs) in 14 different Swiss cities. Overall, the 466 steaks examined had average WBSF values of 3,40 kg and 3,07 kg in 2009 and 2014, respectively. Tenderness was judged as satisfactory, with the meat sold as steak qualifying for the classification «tender», and with an average improvement in tenderness in all muscles of around 11 % (P < 0.001) in 2014 compared to 2009. In both survey periods, 6 % of the steaks were categorised as «tough» and 10.3 % as «intermediate». The least tender muscles were the top round (m. semimembranosus) and, in particular, the eye of round (m. semitendinosus). The top loin (m. longissimus lumborum) proved to be the most tender (P < 0.001). The WBSF values of the tenderloin (m. psoas major) were much higher than expected, which must be viewed as problematic; further investigations are necessary here. Significant intramuscular differences, but also major differences for the same muscle between the two surveys, highlighted the lack of any real rigour in adherence to the maturation period, except for top loin. The information given as to the sex of the animal (heifer, bull, bullock) was often erroneous. There were no differences in terms of tenderness and price between the AB and HSM butcher shops.

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