High vitamin E stock have longer shelf life

10 January 1997

High vitamin E stock have longer shelf life

PROVIDING adequate vitamin E in cattle, pig and poultry diets can greatly increase meat shelf life.

So said Tony Sheehy, University College Cork, Ireland, at the Feed Manufacturers Conference.

Meat from animals fed high levels of vitamin E showed slower oxidation – the cause of discolouration, drip loss and off-odours.

Dr Sheehy cited US research which calculated that reduced discounting on supermarket shelves due to discolouration would save 3.6% of the retail beef value. This would save the beef industry £477m a year.

"It doesnt take much vitamin E to prevent deficiency symptoms," said Dr Sheehy. But to prevent meat oxidation 10 or 20 times this level of vitamin E was needed.

He recommended cattle were fed 500mg/day of alpha-tocopheryl (vitamin E) acetate for 126 days pre-slaughter and that pig diets should contain 200mg a day of alpha-tocopheryl acetate.

"Increasing vitamin E in meat does not expose the consumer to an excess, for meat is a poor supplier of vitamin E," said Dr Sheehy.

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