BPEX: Controlling boar taint in pork

18-07-2011 | |

Advice on controlling boar taint in pork has just been published as part of BPEX’s Target Pork Quality factsheet series.

Boar taint is an odour or flavour which is offensive to some people if they detect it when cooking or eating pork or pork products. It is important that producers minimise the risk of boar taint to ensure they produce consistent, high quality pork and pigmeat products for consumers.
The odour or flavour is a result of high concentrations of androstenone and/or skatole in the meat. Androsterone is a natural sex pheromone found in boars and skatole is a by-product of digestion in the pig.
The BPEX factsheet highlights a number of areas that pig producers can manage to minimise the risk of boar taint, including:
–  pig pen hygiene
–  ventilation
–  dietary fibre – increasing fibre content can help
–  dietary protein – avoid feeding excessive protein
–  age for weight – achieve target pig weight at a younger age
Plus there is information on technologies in the pipeline that may help control boar taint in future.
Interestingly, consumers often react differently to boar taint depending on which part of the world they are from and whether they are male or female. For example, the British are generally less critical of pork with boar taint than other consumers across Europe. Females are more likely to be sensitive to boar taint than men, at least when it relates to androstenone.
For a copy of Target Pork Quality No.6: Boar taint and its control , click here.