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Main research question/goal
This project focuses on the technical and flavour/odour constraints of processing pork from entire male pigs with a certain level of boar taint. The switch from producing castrated piglets to intact boars (to make pork production more animal-friendly) contains the small (3%) chance of carcasses with boar taint (an off-taste and –odour). Slaughterhouses and processors now need evidence-based knowledge about the following questions: To what extent and at which concentration of boar taint is it possible to process pork form entire males in various fresh and processed meat products without having a perceivable off-odour? Is it possible to use pork with boar taint in cold cuts, and if so, how much? To what extent is it usable in products that have a heating step during preparation? Is it possible to mix carcasses with boar taint in preparations with other carcasses, without affecting the final flavour and odour of certain meat products? If so, which concentrations are still acceptable? Can we determine the levels of the different boar taint compounds and relate this to the purposes for which these carcasses can be used?

Research approach
Fresh meat and processed meat products are produced from carcasses with different levels of boar taint or the meat with boar taint is mixed at different concentrations together with non-boar tainted meat. Based on evaluations by expert panels trained to detect flavour and odour, we determine both the pre-processing score of the carcass as well as the sensory scores of the meat products. In this way, we obtain threshold levels based on both sensory and chemical analyses of the processed carcasses. These expert panels can be considered as equalling the most sensitive consumer, because the experts are trained in the olfactory detection of boar taint. The thresholds obtained are then valorised by consumer studies. This confirms that meat and meat products under the determined threshold levels can be accepted by the market ??without any negative consumer perception.

The pig industry, including slaughterhouses and meat processors, has raised the economically important question whether carcasses with boar taint can be valorised - and if so, which amount of boar taint is acceptable. This issue will also determine the feasibility of the transition from raising surgically-castrated male piglets to fattening entire male pigs (target date is 2018). This research will support the sector  to process and valorise meat from entire male pigs for human consumption. The meat processing industry and retailers are partners in this project and participate in the planned evaluations of the fresh and processed meat products. In this way, they are aware of the impact of the incorporation of boar meat from the outset and can remediate. The pork sector also undoubtedly benefits from this research.

Funding provider(s)
IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen

External partner(s)
Flanders' Food
Ugent - Fac. Diergeneeskunde
Effective start/end date1/01/1431/03/16

ID: 4157197