Reducing PSE in turkey
Pre- and post-mortem initiatives
may be the way forward.
Pale, soft and exudative (PSE) meat – meat that is pale in
colour, forms soft gels, and has a decreased ability to hold
water – is a problem often associated with pork. However,
according to researchers, it is increasingly becoming a
challenge for some poultry producers as well, particularly
in the turkey industry.
PSE is not a problem with whole turkeys, but it is
impacting further processed products, such as sliced turkey
deli meats, particularly whole-muscle deli rolls or loaves. In
these whole muscle products, there is less opportunity for
protein extraction due to decreased surface area compared
to comminuted (ie chopped and formed) products.
There is also decreased water binding in these products
due to protein damage caused by the development of PSE.
Therefore, the damaged proteins in PSE meat have a reduced
ability to bind, hold water, and maintain their texture.
According to researchers Christine Alvarado, an
associate professor in the Animal and Food Sciences
Department at Texas Tech University, and Casey Owens, an
associate professor in the Department of Poultry Science at
the University of Arkansas, a host of causes may play a role
in the growing incidence of PSE meat in turkey plants.
Finding an e;ective means to reduce levels of PSE turkey
meat would have a significant economic impact for the
typical turkey producer. Taking the US as an example, Alvarado
and Owens claim that the average producer could be losing
from US$2 million to US$4 million annually to the problem
– a level which, if correct, would put annual losses to the US
turkey industry due to PSE meat at more than US$200 million.