4 December 1998

Marbling makes beef

FLAVOUR and quality in beef will be achieved only by a major change in attitude to traditional breeds as a component of suckler herds.

Although diet influences on quality, its the marbling in the beef from traditional breeds – in particular Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Beef Shorthorn and Galloway – that Cumbria butcher and farmer Norman Kyle believes will inspire a whole new generation of beef eaters.

Mr Kyle, who exhibited lambs at Earls Court, said new customers come back to his shop near Carlisle because of beef flavour.

"Many consumers have forgotten what real beef tastes like. The British beef industry has become paranoid about conformation. and leanness. Most of the beef I sell is pure Galloway. Steers average 450-500kg and although I prefer R conformation grade Ill even take O. Its the taste that counts," he said.

Beef Shorthorn breeders are keen to get more recognition for their breeds marbling qualities. Yorkshire-based Gerald Turton, who runs the Upsall herd, has talked to the MLC about its forthcoming marbling report.

"I accept that several factors affect beef taste – age, hanging and even cooking. But the draft of the MLC report has some positive messages on marbling and its impact on eating quality," said Mr Turton.