A total of 313 pigs (127 halothane-free, NN, and 186 heterozygous halothane, Nn) were slaughtered in four batches at two commercial abattoirs with two different stunning systems, an automatically head-only followed by head-to-chest electrical stunner and a compact carbon dioxide (CO2) stunning unit. Meat quality on the loin muscle was assessed by measuring electrical conductivity (PQM) and colour (Minolta CR 200) at 7 h post mortem, and ultimate pH. Loins showing PQM >6.0 μs were classified as clearly pale, soft and exudative (PSE) meat. The incidence of petechiae, ecchymosis and haematomas in the shoulders, loins and hams was also evaluated. In the abattoir equipped with the electrical stunning system, a higher incidence of potentially PSE meat was found compared with the abattoir equipped with CO2 stunning (35.6 vs. 4.5%). Likewise, electrical stunning increased significatively the incidence of petechiae in the loins, shoulders and hams, and ecchymosis in the loins and hams. Also, the incidence of PSE meat was higher in the Nn pigs compared with NN pigs (24.7 vs. 7.9%). It is suggested that for improving meat quality and reducing incidence of haemorrhages electrical stunning should be avoided. Further improvements in meat quality can be achieved by eliminating the halothane gene specially in CO2-stunned pigs. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
- Halothane genotype
- Meat quality