Dark Cutting Beef – What is it?

NSW DPI - Michael Beer

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Useful article on the causes of dark cutting in beef cattle, the frequency of it occurring and ways it can be reduced.

This article discusses the relationship between management practices and dark cutting in beef cattle. It talks about glycogen loss and how stress affects cattle; and how frequently dark cutting occurs.

Items covered in this article were:

• What is dark cutting beef?

• Glycogen loss

• Frequency of dark cutting

Key points were as follows:

• Dark cutting beef is the colour of the meat when it is exposed to air, it is of poorer quality and has a shorter shelf life than pinkish colour meat.

• Glycogen loss occurs when cattle become stressed; supplying a high energy nutritious diet will help stored levels of glycogen in cattle together with using low-stress stock handling techniques. This has a large impact on the meat colour and pH.

• The frequency of dark cutting beef varies across Australia and is impacted by several factors including seasonal conditions, location and type of processing (industry estimates that the incidence of DCB is 8–10%).

Australia - NSW DPI - Michael Beer
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