An international study on the importance of androstenone and skatole for boar taint: IV. Simulation studies on consumer dissatisfaction with entire male pork and the effect of sorting carcasses on the slaughter line, main conclusions and recommendations.

Meat science

PubMedID: 22060698

Bonneau M, Walstra P, Claudi-Magnussen C, Kempster AJ, Tornberg E, Fischer K, Diestre A, Siret F, Chevillon P, Claus R, Dijksterhuis G, Punter P, Matthews KR, Agerhem H, Béague MP, Oliver MA, Gispert M, Weiler U, von Seth G, Leask H, Font i Furnols M, Homer DB, Cook GL. An international study on the importance of androstenone and skatole for boar taint: IV. Simulation studies on consumer dissatisfaction with entire male pork and the effect of sorting carcasses on the slaughter line, main conclusions and recommendations. Meat Sci. 2000;54(3):285-95.
An international study has been conducted in order to determine the respective contributions of androstenone and skatole to boar taint and their possible variations according to production systems and consumer populations. The presentation of the study and the main results concerning skatole and androstenone levels and data from sensory evaluation or consumer surveys are reported in companion papers. The present paper summarises the main conclusions of the study and gives tentative recommendations. A simulation study was conducted, based on the skatole and androstenone levels currently observed in European populations of entire male pigs and on the results of the consumer surveys. The first part of the simulation study demonstrated that, overall, 6.5% (odour) and 3.0% (flavour) more consumers were dissatisfied with entire male than with gilt pork. The differences were, however, very variable according to countries. Consumer dissatisfaction for the odour of entire male pork was mostly associated with high skatole levels, while androstenone had little influence on it. On the other hand, androstenone and skatole had similar contributions to the level of dissatisfaction for flavour. From the present study it is not possible to determine clear cut-off levels for androstenone/skatole. The regression equations presented in [Matthews, K. R., Homer, D. B., Punter, P., Béague, M. P., Gispert, M., Siret, F., Leask, H., Fonti i Furnols, M., & Bonneau, M. (2000). An international study on the importance of androstenone, skatole for boar taint: III. Consumer survey in seven European countries. Meat Science, 54, 271-283] provide a basis for decision making. However, due to methodological limitations, the results may underestimate consumer reaction to entire male pork. The second part of the simulation study demonstrated that sorting carcasses on the basis of androstenone/skatole would reduce, but not eliminate, differences in consumer dissatisfaction between entire male and gilt pork. For odour, taking androstenone into account did not improve the efficiency obtained from sorting using skatole only. For flavour, sorting using both compounds was more efficient than sorting using skatole only. Sorting out 15% of the entire males, on the basis of skatole only, would result in a difference in the proportion of dissatisfied consumers of 4.2% (odour) or 2.0% (flavour) between entire male and gilt pork. The results of the last part of the simulation study demonstrated that decreasing skatole in entire male pig populations, to levels as low as 0.10 ppm, would still result in a difference in the proportion of dissatisfied consumers of 3.2% (odour) or 1.6% (flavour). To reduce this difference further, the levels of both compounds would have to be reduced still further. The lowest difference that can be achieved is 2.3% (odour) or 0.4% (flavour). The conclusions of the present study may differ according to whether immediate commercial applications or long-term goals are considered. On the basis of the skatole and androstenone levels currently observed in entire male pig populations, sorting out procedures based on skatole is the easiest way to rapidly achieve a significant decrease in consumer dissatisfaction with entire male pork. In most countries, however, this will not be sufficient to obtain the same level of acceptability as with gilts. In the long term, a sharp reduction in both skatole and androstenone would have to be achieved in entire male pig populations to obtain low differences in acceptability between entire male and gilt pork.