Abstract / Description of output
Sensory traits, such as juiciness and tenderness, are known to be important to the consumer and thus will influence their consumption of meat, specifically beef These traits are difficult to measure and often require the use of taste panels to assess the complex parameters involved in the eating experience. Such panels are potentially a large source of measurement error, which may reduce the effectiveness of breeding programmes based on the data they generate. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of such taste panel-derived sensory traits as well as calculating genetic parameters and residual correlations for these traits along with a further set of traditional carcass quality traits. The study examined a sample of 443 Aberdeen Angus-cross animals collected from 14 breeder-finisher farms throughout Scotland. To assess the quality of the taste panel measurements, three consistency statistics were calculated: (i) panel-member consistency, i.e. the extent to which an individual panel member varied in their scoring for a given trait over the period of the experiment; (ii) repeatability i.e. the consistency with which an individual panel member was able to score a trait on repeated samples from the same animal; and (iii) reproducibility, i.e. the extent to which taste panel members agreed with each other when scoring a trait. These consistency statistics were moderately high, particularly for panel-member consistency and reproducibility with values ranging from 0.48 to 0,81 and 0.43 to 0.73 respectively. Estimated heritabilities were low for most of the sensory taste-panel-evaluated traits where the maximum value was 0.16 for overall liking. Residual correlations were high between many of the closely related sensory traits, although few significant correlations were found between the carcass quality data and meat quality traits.