This research focused on studying the sensory quality of low fat bacon when pale, soft and exudative (PSE) pork is used during processing. Low fat bacon is different from normal bacon in that the amount of visible fat in low fat bacon has been reduced. This is as a result of consumer interest in weight control and cholesterol, creating a demand for meat and meat products with reduced fat levels. PSE pork is a condition in which certain muscles are very pale, soft and watery. It is produced when the rate of post-mortem glycolysis is fast and a high level of acidity is reached while the carcass temperature is still high. Different researchers have reported that PSE pork absorbs less brine during curing and this may have a negative effect on the sensory quality and acceptance of both the uncooked and cooked finished products as it is mainly the curing brine that is responsible for the development of the typical colour, flavour, aroma and texture associated with cured meat products. Thirty pig carcasses, 15 PSE and 15 normal pH, suitable for production of low fat bacon, were selected over a period of three weeks at an abattoir in Olifantsfontein to study the effect of PSE meat on the sensory quality of low fat bacon. The carcasses were further processed into low fat bacon at a meat processing plant. Data were collected on the % brine uptake of PSE and normal pH meat after curing; the rating scores on the descriptive sensory attributes of both PSE and normal pH low fat bacon and the % salt concentration and residual nitrite of PSE and normal pH low fat bacon. A consumer test to determine the buying preferences for packaged PSE and normal pH low fat bacon and the eating quality preferences of cooked PSE and normal pH low fat bacon was also conducted. No significant difference (p > 0.05) was found in the % brine uptake between PSE and normal pH meat. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in the descriptive sensory attributes of PSE and normal pH low fat bacon. The residual nitrite concentration of normal pH low fat bacon was significantly higher than that of PSE low fat bacon. There was however no significant difference (p > 0.05) in the % salt concentration of PSE and normal pH low fat bacon. Correlation matrices showed significant positive correlations (p ≤ 0.05) between % brine uptake and % salt concentration and between % salt concentration and perceived saltiness of normal pH low fat bacon. For PSE low fat bacon, the correlations between % brine uptake and % salt concentration and between % salt concentration and perceived saltiness was not significant. The correlation between % brine uptake and residual nitrite content was however not significant (p > 0.05) for both the PSE and normal pH low fat bacon. A significantly higher number of consumers indicated that they would prefer to buy samples representing PSE low fat bacon. The pale colour of PSE meat was not masked after curing, which was noticed by the consumers during the evaluation of buying preferences for PSE and normal pH packaged low fat bacon. However, regarded as even more important than colour, the consumers mentioned fat content as the main deciding factor for purchasing low fat bacon. No significant difference (p > 0.05) was found in the preference for the eating quality of cooked PSE and normal pH low fat bacon. It was concluded that PSE meat can successfully be used to produce low fat bacon products of consistent quality. This conclusion is drawn from the analytical sensory test results, where the use of PSE meat did not affect the sensory quality characteristics of low fat bacon. For low fat bacon, fat content is an important factor, regarded as very influential to consumers when making purchases. It is therefore important to produce products with consistent fat content according to specifications.
Dissertation (M Inst Agrar ( Food Production and Processing))--University of Pretoria, 2005.