Qualities such as flavour, texture, juiciness, colour, and aroma contribute
to the appreciation of meat. However, most people agree that tender meat
is good meat. Toughness makes for unpalatability, or even inedibility for
a section of the population. Agreement has not been reached regarding the nature of toughness, although the three constituents of meat - muscle fibres, connective tissue, and fat - must each play a role. Evidence is still inconclusive as to the exact relationship of the various factors contributing to toughness.
A tasting panel may be formed to determine the final quality of the
meat. Here selected persons taste a number of meat samples, and grade each
sample on a scale of points for each of its properties (tenderness, texture,
flavour, etc.). According to the score averaged for specific properties the
samples can be rated, in order from best to poorest. In addition, various mechanical penetrating or cutting devices may be used to grade meat. Owing to the difficulty of establishing an efficient tasting panel these objective methods of measuring tenderness have many advantages. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to imitate the complex cutting and grinding action performed by the teeth, so that these instruments are not entirely reliable in interpreting human taste preferences.
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