Effect of packaging type during postmortem aging and degree of doneness on pork chop sensory traits of loins selected to vary in color and marbling

B. J. Klehm, D. A. King, A. C. Dilger, S. D. Shackelford, D. D. Boler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was to determine the interactions between packaging type and degree of doneness on sensory traits of pork loins classified based on the newly proposed USDA quality grades. A total of 144 loins were selected from 2 groups of pigs (lean growth or meat quality production focus) to represent as much variation in visual color and marbling as possible. Selection was achieved with a VQG grading camera. The ventral surface of the loins was evaluated for loin quality traits at 1 d postmortem. At 2 d postmortem loins were sliced into 28-mm-thick chops. Chop within each loin was randomly assigned to either individual vacuum packages or to individual Styrofoam trays and overwrapped in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) oxygen permeable film. Overwrapped PVC packages were then placed in bulk packages and flushed with a gas mixture that contained approximately 0.4% carbon monoxide, 30% carbon dioxide, and 80% nitrogen. Vacuum-packaged chops were aged until 14 d postmortem. Chops packaged in PVC overwrap were aged until 9 d postmortem in the bulk packages, then placed on simulated retail display until 14 d postmortem. Chops from each packaging type were cooked to an internal temperature of either 63 °C or 71 °C for the evaluation of slice shear force (SSF) or for evaluation of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor by a trained panel. Data were analyzed as split-split plot design with production focus of the pigs, proposed USDA quality grade, packaging type, and degree of doneness as fixed effects. While there were main effect differences between production focuses, there were no interactions with production focus. There were also no 3-way (P ≥ 0.19) interactions and only one 2-way interaction among quality grade, packaging type, or degree of doneness. There were no differences in sensory tenderness (P = 0.30), juiciness (P = 0.49), flavor (P = 0.89), SSF (P = 0.13), or cook loss (P = 0.06) among USDA quality grades. There were no differences in sensory tenderness (P = 0.06), juiciness (P = 0.32), flavor (P = 0.74), SSF (P = 0.99), or cook loss (P = 0.12) between chops aged in vacuum packages or PVC packages. Chops cooked to 63 °C were 4.6% more tender (P < 0.0001), 10.1% juicier (P < 0.0001), and 2.9% less flavorful (P = 0.01) than chops cooked to 71 °C. These data suggest that cooking chops to 63 °C rather than 71 °C was a more effective way to improve tenderness and juiciness than selecting chops of a certain quality grade or altering packaging postmortem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1736-1744
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • Degree of doneness
  • Packaging
  • Pork
  • Quality grade
  • Sensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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