The Department of Animal Sciences and the Ohio Pork Council joined to host ‘Pork 509’ - a pork quality seminar. Attendees from allied industries, swine producers, pork finishers, and undergraduates learned about swine welfare, genetics, nutrition, meat quality and processing characteristics.
“We were really trying to raise awareness of all of the factors that can influence the variations of quality,” said Professor and Swine Extension Specialist Dr. Steve Moeller. “Consumers are a lot more sophisticated and demand a higher-quality, value product.”
Participating faculty members provided information about their areas of expertise. Dr. Eric England, assistant professor, discussed nutrition and techniques for achieving objective quality measurements. “We really want to find ways to take the human element out of quality measurements by providing standardized systems,” said England. “Standardization maximizes quality and cost efficiency for both the consumer and the various companies involved with pork production.”
Assistant Professors Drs. Lyda Garcia and Monique Pairis-Garcia collaborated to discuss animal welfare. Pairis-Garcia addressed animal welfare from a management practices perspective. “Producers need to be aware that everything they do from the farm, transportation, to the finishing plant has an impact on meat quality,” said Pairis-Garcia. “Also consumers really do care about the treatment of animals. They are more likely to support producers that put forth the effort to treat animals correctly. So, animal welfare is really a win-win for everyone.”
Garcia also discussed the impact of animal welfare on meat quality. “Whether it’s proper nutrition or animal handling, animal welfare shows through in the end product. It’s easier for us to sell a product if the animal has been properly cared for.”
Garcia also addressed issues of carcass evaluation and meat quality assessment. She used teaching techniques that she has honed providing real-world experience to the Ohio State Meat Judging Team. Garcia believes that understanding the measurements used by the USDA are important to every level of the meat industry. “They have to understand what the USDA is looking for in grading meat. How can they achieve quality if they don’t know what it looks like?”
The Pork 509 was a collaboration between the Ohio Pork Council and the meat and swine science team. In addition to faculty collaboration for seminar content, the Ohio State Meat Shoppe (Manager Ron Cramer and Assistant Manager Ethan Scheffler) opened its door to help with meat fabrication, preparation, and cooking for samples and meals.
“This was really a team effort. We really want to raise the visibility of the swine industry. But we also want to show all of the research and outreach that everyone on the meat and swine science teams do,” said Moeller.