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Comparison of the meat and carcass quality of lambs raised in organic or conventional production systems.



The ‘organic’ label on a product guarantees that synthetic fertilisers, pesticides and hormones are not used in the production process and that the use of pharmaceutical products and drugs is limited. However, product quality is often questioned and we have to anticipate the consumer demand for product quality guarantees. This study was conducted to compare the sensory and nutritional meat and carcass qualities of lambs raised under an organic (O) or a conventional (C) production system. Comparisons were made with both pasture-fed lambs and lambs that were stall-fed indoors with concentrate and hay. The experiment was conducted over two years for stall-fed lambs (S) (group O, n=24; group C, n=24) and three years for pasture-fed lambs (P) (group O, n=36; group C, n=36). For P lambs, O and C production systems differed in terms of the level of mineral N fertilisation of the pasture. For S lambs, the feed was organic vs. conventional, and the ingredients of O and C concentrates were the same. The nutritional quality of the meat (longissimus dorsi) was assessed in terms of its fatty acid (FA) composition, and the sensory quality of the loin chop was assessed by a trained sensory panel. In stall-fed lambs, the health value of meat FA for human consumption was higher in the O group than in the C group, but there was no difference in the sensory quality of the meat and the carcass between the O and C groups. In pasture-fed lambs, there were no significant differences between the O and C groups in terms of the health value of meat FA. However, in pasture-fed lambs, the loin chops had a higher level of abnormal odour of the fat in the organic than in the conventional group, probably due to a higher proportion of white clover in the diet

Topics: Food security, food quality and human health, Sheep and goats, Production systems
Publisher: INRA
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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