In every part of the Danish pork production, constant efforts are made to obtain the best possible meat quality. The results are e.g. a lean, tender and tasty pork with good keeping qualities, pieces of meat of similar sizes and not least, good animal welfare.
In general, Danish pork is lean. For neck of pork and similar pieces of meat, the IMF (intramuscular fat) is on average 1.5% and thereby suitable for both further preparation and retail cutting up.
In Denmark, the average slaughter weight is 81-83 kg (corresponding to a live weight of 110 kg). As a consequence of the integrated Danish system, Danish pigs are very similar in size. In addition, the abattoirs can perform a careful selection of carcasses and select pieces of meat of very similar size by means of data from classification and weighing-in.
The taste of pork is affected by the feed given to the pig
The Danish pig industry has determined guidelines for the composition of the feed since this may affect the taste of the meat. Refrigeration of the warm carcass is of great importance to the tenderness and the manufacturing facilities use cooling methods that ensure a quick refrigeration without compromising the meat quality.
The Danish pig industry has focused on arranging transport, stalling and stunning so that the pigs avoid being stressed since this may otherwise compromise the appearance of the meat. In addition to complying with the EU rules for protection of pigs, also Danish legislation and trade rules ensure the welfare of the animals in every part of the pig production during transport and at the abattoir.
Consistent quality is essential
The targeted work to achieve the highest possible quality is also evident in the low variation in the meat quality. Therefore, bleedings, PSE or DFD are infrequent in Danish pork. PSE (pale, soft, exudative) is white meat with poor ability to keep the meat juice which is not desirable. Stress in the pig immediately before slaughtering plays a major role in the occurrence of PSE. DFD (dark, firm, dry) occurs in tender and dry meat and is also an expression of variation in the quality.
How long will pork keep?
The keeping qualities in fresh frozen pork depend on factors such as the pigs’ feed, hygiene during slaughtering, cutting up and packaging as well as storage temperature. The storage temperature is the most critical factor for the keeping qualities and as a result of the good production hygiene at the big Danish export slaughter-houses, the meat has long keeping qualities under refrigeration and freezing.
The meat percentage and the slaughter weight form the basis for the payment to the farmer. Danish pigs have an average meat percentage of approx. 60 which make the carcasses highly suitable for further processing and for the manufacture of many different products.
Read more in the Quality Handbook about what Danish pig producers and abattoirs do in order to ensure a high meat quality.