A comparison of the quality of fresh and frozen pork from immunologically castrated males versus gilts, physical castrates, and entire males.
Beside surgical castration possible alternatives helping to reduce the incidence of boar taint in cooked pork are rearing conditions, immunocastration and feeding strategies for entire males known to lower the skatole levels. The goal of this study was to assess the effects of these alternatives on the sensory acceptability of pork. In experiment 1, carcasses from barrows, entire males (EM) and entire males fed raw potato starch (EM+) 7d before slaughter were selected based on the androstenone (<or=2 microg/g) and skatole (<or=0.32 microg/g) levels. In experiment 2, carcasses from barrows, immunocastrates (IC), entire males either group-penned (EMG) or individually penned (EMP) were selected based on the aforementioned criteria. Boar odour and boar flavour intensities of longissimus dorsi (LD) and neck chops were evaluated by trained panellists. Boar odour and flavour scores were higher (P<0.01) in neck than LD chops. Although skatole tissue levels in barrows and EM+ were similar (P>0.05), boar odour and flavour scores were greater (P<0.05) in EM+ than barrows. In experiment 2, scores for boar odour and flavour were lower (P<0.05) in pork from barrows and IC than EMP, with intermediate values for EMG. In conclusion, we observed a discrepancy between the known boar taint compounds androstenone and skatole and sensory acceptability, which indicates that other factors influenced the perception of boar taint. Thus, surgical castration with or without anesthesia or immunocastration are still the safest methods to avoid boar taint.