With meat, our goal is to optimize taste and tenderness, minimize fat content, impart a healthful fatty acid composition, and develop a more stabilized color. Several niche markets have been established in which beef from pasture-fed cattle has a two- to fourfold increase in CLA content. An example of incorporating a nutraceutical into meat is the feeding of supplemental vitamin E to pigs and beef cattle to improve color stability and nutritional value and to increase meat shelf life.
Another example of a preharvest treatment is to improve tenderness of beef by feeding high doses of vitamin D3 near the time of harvest. When 5 x 106 IU of vitamin D3 was fed per day, the shear force, as measured by the Warner-Bratzler test, significantly decreased at 7 and 14 days postmortem, which is indicative of an increased tenderness. The hydroxylated product of vitamin D3, 25-hydroxy vitamin D3, also seems to improve tenderness. Although neither practice currently is approved, use of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 seems promising for use in future beef production systems.
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