Boar taint is a penetrating, unpleasant odour that can develop when pork from uncastrated animals is heated. Its intensity varies. People also experience it differently. Some find it noxious, whereas others consider it pleasant. The golden standard is however that if pig farmers were to stop castrating, consumers should be continued to be guaranteed optimum meat quality. In other words the pork production chain has to ensure that meat with boar taint never reaches consumers. This demands preventative measures.
The five-year programme ‘Boars Heading for 2018’ conducted research into the options for discovering boar taint. An important discovery was that the levels of the hormones that cause boar taint are inheritable and can therefore be influenced by genetics. Various measures at the farm such as feed composition and hygiene can be influential too. However, these preventative measures do not offer a 100% guarantee that boar taint won’t occur.
Man’s reliable nose
Human noses have been the best measure of smells since time immemorial. Trained experts assessing food quality. Wine being a good example. The Human Nose system that tests the carcass for boar taint on the slaughter line was developed during the five-year research programme. Millions of tests have since been successfully carried out.
We may conclude that, although there is no 100% guarantee, the available HN test is a system that works well. Detailed information can be obtained straight from the researcher in question. For the (English-language) research report and contact details click here.