Consumer health concerns with respect to animal product options have been studied extensively in the USA (NRC, 1988; Huffman et al., 1991; Keeton, 1991) and elsewhere (Woodward and Wheelock, 1990; Harrington, 1994). In developed countries where meat is a staple part of the diet, increased emphasis is being placed on purchasing meat with a lower fat content (Hopkins, 1988; Thatcher, 1988) while nutritional research is emphasizing the beneficial nutritional properties of lean meat (NRC, 1988). As a result, pressure is increasing to encourage the production of leaner cattle, sheep and pigs and the processing of their carcasses and cuts by trimming excess fat to produce leaner cuts or even lean (completely fat trimmed) beef and pork for retail sale. This demonstrates the increasing pressure from consumers for less fat meat, which has been facilitated by media publicity highlighting the adverse health effects of animal fats and that of meat in general. Despite these clear market signals, the producers of red meat at least have failed to make significant changes to their product. For example, lamb in the USA increased carcase fatness from 1968 to 1988, Harris et al. (1990
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 25: Lactation; growth and efficiency; meat quality; role of exotic breeds in the tropics; design of village breeding programmes;, , 149–156, 1998
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