It’s All About PORK!

Jan 29, 2016

Forty-eight individuals from the United States and other countries including Jamaica, Japan, Korea, and Guatemala attended the AMSA PORK 101 that was presented at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, GA earlier this week. This four hour hands-on workshop, was led by Drs. Davey Griffin from Texas A&M University and Dean Pringle from the University of Georgia, and supported by the North American Meat Institute Foundation (NAMIF), Elanco Animal Health, and Merck Animal Health. A special thanks goes out to AMSA student members Rachael Detweiler, Haley Gilleland and Macc Rigdon from the University of Georgia for their assistance in making this a great educational experience.

This course was divided into three different sections to give attendees a taste of what is in store when they register for the full PORK 101 course. The first hour was spent walking through the curriculum and briefly touching on pork quality, pig handling, live market evaluation, and lean carcass value. Dr. Griffin engaged attendees in the discussion in order that they better understood all the topics that are discussed during the PORK 101 full program, the impact this has on the industry, and the benefits gained by all participants. The audience was stumped when Dr. Griffin asked them what pork quality was to them and what quality grades are attributed with pork. After about 10 minutes, he let them in on the fact that when it comes to pork, it is either acceptable or unacceptable.

The first segment concluded with a pop quiz! Participants tested their knowledge on fifteen cuts needing identification, those cuts retail names, and where they originated from. After their quizzes were completed, attendees were asked to join Griffin and Pringle in the front of the room for part two of the course, fabrication. Griffin and Pringle spent the next hour walking through and demonstrating how to breakdown the pork carcass and identifying the different primals. This part of the course was highly received by all attendees as they appreciated they time Griffin and Pringle took explaining what they were doing, why they were doing it, and if done incorrectly, the impact it would have on the final product.

After lots of questions, we moved into the third part of the course where Detweiler, Gilleland and Rigdon fired up the grills and cooked five rounds of pork chops for the attendees to sample. Attendees evaluated normal, enhanced, PSE, and highly marbled pork chops. Pringle started this portion of the course by asking attendees to what temperature they typically cook their pork chops. A majority of the attendees’ responded by saying “medium well to well done” and when asked why, they said “for food safety purposes.” To help with this discussion, Detweiler and Gilleland cooked the first round of chops to an internal temperature of 175°F. Once the first sample was ready, Pringle asked attendees to evaluate each sample and determine the overall tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. To help attendees understand the importance of internal cooking temperature, a second round of pork chops were cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F and held for 3 minutes prior to slicing, and then evaluated.  This gave the attendees a great opportunity to talk about the importance of using a meat thermometer and ideally what temperature pork should be cooked.

General comments from some of the attendees included:

•    Great course speakers were engaged and knowledgeable!
•    Sensory session is a good compliment to the seminar and enhanced the understanding  
•    Well organized, excellent flow between presenters who really know their information to deliver a captivating presentation and demonstration! I am very glad I came!

Thanks to our AMSA members who assisted with this PORK 101 course! 

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