Professor Ken Prusa, teaching food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University
, said that the darker the pork, the higher the pH and the less acid it contains. The acid is unwanted, since it damages muscle proteins and causes meat to be pale, watery and sour.
Prusa described the flavour of the darker meat as sweeter, nuttier, more tender, juicy and flavourful.
To increase pH levels, Prusa said there must be attention paid to genetics and slaughtering practices. There is a necessity to keep the animal calm during slaughter, because stress creates adrenaline, causing a rapid pH decline.
There should also be a rest period between transport and slaughter, to keep the animals relaxed. Newer forms of stunning the animal can also help.
As the American National Pork Board
has been marketing pork as “The Other White Meat” as an alternative to poultry, the industry has been looking at pH values for a while now. Spokeswoman Ceci Snyder said, “From our own experience, we know that the product tastes better and we want people to have a good experience, so we will need to educate about choosing darker colour.”