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Researchers looking for what makes meat tasty

staff writer

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 23:02

meat-tasting

Ashlee Flygare photo

Krista Yardley organizes meat samples in individual cups at the Jan. 31 meat-tasting event hosted by USU researchers.


Students and community members participated in taste tests to help USU researchers figure out whether what cows eat affects the quality of meat last month.

 

Jan. 30 was the last day of the experiment where participants were given samples of meat to smell, taste and evaluate. According to Silvano Martini, an associate professor in the nutrition, dietetics and food sciences department, participants were given six meat samples and were asked to rate how much they like each meat sample in all of five categories: smell, flavor, taste, juiciness and overall.

 

“The upper level of the scale says, ‘I like it extremely,’ and the lower level says ‘I don’t like it at all,’” Martini said.

 

“We wanted to see if the different quality and flavor were affected by the different diet,” she said.

 

The experiment is a collaboration between three professors: Jerrad Legako, also in the NDFS department, Jennifer MacAdams of the plants, soils and climate department, and Martini.

 

Participation was not limited to students at USU. This study was open to the public, and all participants were given coupons for free ice cream from Aggie Ice Cream, according to Martini.

 

The testing room was dimly lit by a red-colored light. According to Martini, this was so the participants would not judge how much they liked the samples by the color or appearance. This was strictly a taste and flavor test.

 

The main reason for conducting this experiment is to see if the taste of meat affects peoples’ choices in purchase and consumption, according to Martini.

 

“There is a lot of research behind the sensory panels,” Martini said. “Trying to improve the quality of life, the quality of society, trying to get better foods that are healthier and also trying to promote sustainability.”

 

Martin Carrillo, a junior in the civil engineering program who participated in the experiment, said he believes taste does affect how consumers buy meat. He said tests like this will affect our community in the future.

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