Meat colour and pH

Meat colour and pH are related to each other. High pH meat (defined as above pH 5.70) is undesirable and has the following features:

  • It is often a dark purple colour. This is known as dark-cutting meat.
  • Coarse texture
  • High water holding capacity so less juicy when cooked
  • Reduced shelf life due to bacterial growth in high pH conditions
  • Cooking inconsistencies.

You will explore how to manage the pH of meat through correct cattle handling in the next topic: Getting a handle on the herd.

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Meat colour and pH is measured on every carcase. Ultimate pH must be below 5.71.

While meat colour is not an MSA requirement, supply chains may apply meat colour as a company specification.