This mini-review summarises the scientific results reported in the literature regarding the qualitative characteristics of carcasses and beef from cattle raised according to the organic system. Carcasses from organically-raised beef cattle are characterised by poor muscular development and less fattening, probably due to the fact that the rations are mainly based on forage, with low energy yields from concentrates. With this type of production system native breeds are preferred, which are often characterised by rather slow development. These facts may also partly explain why organic beef shows low intramuscular lipid content compared to that generally found in meat from cattle raised under conventional methods; other organoleptic characteristics of the meat do not appear to be influenced by the organic rearing system. This is encouraging for the production of organic beef since aside from promoting concern for the welfare of the animals and satisfying a growing demand for meat that is "safe" from a health point of view, the system guarantees organoleptic quality similar to that of conventional beef.
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