Retail Beef Tenderness Surveillance: Assessment of Warner-Bratzler Shear, Slice Shear and Sensory Panel Ratings for Beef From US Retail Establishments



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The purpose of this study was to obtain beef top loin steaks (n=1,613) from retail stores in four cities across the United States for WBS, SSF and consumer sensory determinations. The study was conducted over a 12-month period by four universities (California Polytechnic State University, Colorado State University, University of Missouri and Texas A&M University). The 12-month period was separated into four quarters with each collaborating university responsible for the collection of 100 steaks from their assigned metropolitan area per quarter. Measurements for SSF were obtained from the lateral portion of steaks (n=751). WBS measurements were obtained from the lateral, middle, and medial portion of steaks (n=749). Subjective measurements were obtained on steaks (n=112) from consumer laboratory panels. Enhanced/blade tenderized top loin steaks had the lowest (P < 0.05) WBS and SSF values, whereas non-enhanced top loin, bone-in had the highest (P < 0.05) WBS and SSF values. Enhanced/blade tenderized top loin steaks received the highest (P < 0.05) ratings by consumers for palatability scores whereas non-enhanced top loin, bone-in steaks had the lowest (P < 0.05) consumer panelist ratings. USDA quality grade did have an effect (P < 0.05) on the tenderness of the non-enhanced steaks. The WBS values and consumer sensory values for top loin steaks were comparable to the 2010 National Beef Tenderness Survey, signifying that no drastic changes in tenderness have occurred due to changes in antemortem or postmortem conditions.