Pigs/Meat Quality

Through our research we contribute to improving resource efficiency, animal health and animal well-being in pig farming while also increasing the quality and flavour of pork.

Our research projects revolve around feeding, raising and health in pig keeping – always with the aim of improving resource efficiency, animal health and animal well-being. In addition, our research in meat quality and meat technology contributes towards increasing the quality and flavour of pork.

Expertise

Pig production

  • Feeding: Optimisation of performance with simultaneous minimisation of environmental impacts, use of on-farm feedstuffs and by-products
  • Raising: Herd management, optimisation of animal well-being
  • Health: Hygiene concepts, disease prevention, minimisation of antibiotic use

Meat quality and meat technology

  • Analysis and consulting regarding problems with meat quality
  • Influences of feeding on fat quality
  • Influences on carcass and meat quality (genetics, production method, slaughtering process, meat processing) 

Infrastructure

We routinely use the following analysis methods in the scope of our research:

  • Temperature and pH measurements – in slaughtering and in the field
  • Meat colour (Minolta chromameter)
  • Cutting force measurement (Texture Analyzer)
  • Intramuscular fat content (NIRS)
  • Fatty acid type pattern (NIRS)
  • Oxidation stability of fats (Rancimat)

Through close cooperation with SUISAG we are also able conduct feeding experiments and specific laboratory analyses (fatty acid determination, drip and cooking loss).

Projects

Jointly with the ETH Zurich Institute for Agricultural Sciences, the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich and SUISAG, the HAFL project team is analysing technical production measures as well as factors that influence farmers in their decisions to employ new management practices and breeding techniques. On the basis of these analyses, advisory concepts are being developed that will lead more quickly to sustainability improvements and reduced antibiotic use in pig production. Measures for optimising meat and fat quality are also being developed. The project goal is the exemplary development and establishment of a pork production industry with a focus on reducing negative environmental impacts, cutting back on antibiotic use and producing meat of outstanding quality along the entire value chain.

Assessing pork fat quality according to the fat index (iodine index determination) is obsolete. With the aid of feeding experiments, we not only developed the foundations for new assessment criteria but also tested the reliability of quick methods for measuring quality. In addition, we researched possibilities for improving fat quality through breeding measures.

Ham slices that tear during industrial cutting have been a problem in the Swiss meat industry for many years. For a long time, it was thought that the quality of the raw material was mainly responsible for so-called destructuration in cooked ham. On behalf of Proviande and with KTI funding, we studied the problem and came up with recommendations. The most important finding: processing technology can also contribute substantially to quality improvement.

Team

Contact