Free-range Pigs and Meat Quality

Background and methodology
Meat contains proteins with a high biologic value, essential fatty acids, vitamins (B12) and micronutrients (Zn, Se, Fe). In recent years, red meat consumption has been discredited as a result of causal relations established between red meat consumption and coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer. Meat from ‘organic’ livestock production systems is thought to have higher nutritious and sensory quality. The aim of this research was to study the physico-chemical characteristics of the Longissimus dorsi muscles from different pigs and evaluate differences between groups. Longissimus dorsi muscles from three lines of Iberian pigs and those from commercial pigs were analyzed in order to evaluate their quality for fresh consumption. 

Iberian pigs Longissimus dorsi showed a higher fat (P<0.05) and lower phospholipids contents (g PL/g fat; P>0.05). Iberian pigs’ Longissimus dorsi muscles had a higher content of haem iron (P<0.05). Total fat and neutral lipid fatty acid profiles showed higher percentages of palmitic, oleic, total saturated fatty acids (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) m. Longissimus dorsi of Iberian pigs (P<0.05). m. Longissimus dorsi from the commercial pigs contained higher proportions of PUFA and a higher n-6/n-3 ratio value (P<0.05).

Estévez, M., Morcuende, D., & López, R. C. (2003). Physico-chemical characteristics of M. Longissimus dorsi from three lines of free-range reared Iberian pigs slaughtered at 90 kg live-weight and commercial pigs: a comparative study. Meat Science 64:499-506.