Grading of pork quality in South Africa

Retailers and restaurants want to ensure they are providing/serving their customers with the best quality pork meat possible, but how does one know the class of pork they’re receiving? Young entrepreneurs need to understand the grading process of pork quality in South Africa.

At Van Wyngaardt wholesale pork meat suppliers, we are familiar with the different classification processes to guarantee you are buying the highest quality pork products online.

Principles of pork classification

Please note: The Lean Meat Percentage (LM%) statistics, classification marks and bruising marks are sourced from the paper mentioned below. Back in the 1900s, the pig industry realised that it needed to place an objective value on pork to determine professed excellence.

According to a paper entitled, Verification of the South African Pork Classification, “a system classification system provides a universal language for describing important determinants of yield and composition and provides a platform for buyers to express their demands and preferences. A proper classification system should be very informative and useful for all persons involved in the production and consumption of the meat.”

The Lean Meat Percentage (LM%) is the overall pork quality metric. There are different methods by which this can be identified (approaches generally differ between countries). The paper states, “the most popular and accurate method is the measurement of fat and muscle depths by an optical probe and subsequently calculating the LM % based on the measurements.”

The % lean meat in the carcass is estimated by:

Measuring the fat thickness (FT) and eye muscle thickness with a thickness meter such as
the Hennessey Grading Probe. The following formula is used: Hennessy LM = 72.5114- (0.4618 x fat thickness) + (0.057 x eye muscle thickness).

Classification Characteristics of Pork

Class Calculated % of meat
carcass based on measured fat and muscle thickness at a certain point
P ≥ 70
O 68-69
R 66-67
C 64-65
U 62-63
S ≤ 61

Marks for classes of pork

Class Mark Where
Suckling pig S One mark on the forehead
Sausage pig W One mark on each buttock
Rough pig RU One mark on each side
P, O, R, C, U, and S P, O, R, C, U, and S One mark on each side

Bruising classification

Class 1: Slightly bruised; Only the subcutaneous tissue is damaged.
Class 2: Moderately bruised; Subcutaneous and muscular tissue is damaged.
Class 3: Severely bruised; Subcutaneous and muscular tissue is damaged as well as the bones.

The bruising class significantly affects the quality and value of pork. Furthermore, bruised areas should be removed; if not, it will quicken bacterial growth which, in turn, increases the rate of decomposition, resulting in spoilage.

At Van Wyngaardt, we take great pride in being suppliers of superior wholesale pork products. All restauranteurs and retail meat sellers can rest assured that your customers will receive the best pork in South Africa. Our online platform has been designed to provide you with a seamless, efficient ordering experience. Fill in the webform with your details and pork meat needs and our sales representatives will ensure your order is processed correctly and delivered to your premises timeously.

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