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Effect of pre slaughter handling on the quality and microbiology of venison from farmed young red deer


, : Effect of pre slaughter handling on the quality and microbiology of venison from farmed young red deer. Journal of the Science of Food & Agriculture 30(12): 1160-1167

Young stags, castrates and hinds, raised on heathery hill pasture, were subjected to 3 levels of stress prior to slaughter. They were individually penned overnight and shot, confined in threes in a pen overnight and stunned by captive bolt, or confined in threes in a wire fenced pen overnight and then agitated by an older deer for 2 h and finally stunned by captive bolt. Some 30% of the stag and castrate carcasses had high ultimate pH (pHu .gtoreq. 6.0) and the venison from these exhibited typical dark cutting appearance. The pHu of the hind carcasses was < 5.5. Overall there was no significant difference in pHu between stressed and unstressed groups, but the incidence of high pHu was greatest in the severely stressed stags and castrates. Texture of roasted semimembranous muscle, with a pHu < 6.0, was slightly to moderately tender and the high pHu venison was very tender. Stress level did not affect the microbiological condition of the freshly skinned carcasses or the total viable counts on joints during storage at 1.degree. C.

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