Increase the taste and quality of the Flemish pork

Project Details


Main research question/goal

Can the eating and technological meat quality of pork that we produce in Flanders be improved? ILVO and UGent are answering this question in the 4-year project VLEVAVLEES. The aim is to bring the taste and quality of meat closer to the wishes of consumers and buyers by means of targeted strategies in pig farming. Specifically, the project looks at the effects of the finishing line and the stress gene on the one hand and the timing of vaccinations in the case of immunocastration on the other. The project also aims at a faster way of detecting meat quality in an objective way.  

Research approach

The needs of the pig industry regarding fresh and processed meat were identified by  a survey. In addition, the potential of four fast detection methods (FX10, FX17, NitFom, Labspec) to predict fresh meat quality was evaluated. Two animal experiments, evaluated the effect of sire line, stress gene and timing of 2nd vaccination of immunocastration on meat quality, carcass quality and  performance. The variation of initial pH was also evaluated by a screening in the slaughterhouse. Finally, a guide was written containing  management strategies that the entire pig industry can use to produce more tasty, high-quality pork. 

The project has now ended and there are interesting results to report. The needs of the pig industry regarding fresh and processed meat have been identified by means of a survey. The potential of four rapid detection methods (FX10, FX17, NitFom, Labspec) to predict fresh meat quality has been evaluated. Two targeted crossbreeding trials were used to determine the effect of end-beer line, stress gene and timing of 2nd immunocastration on final meat quality, carcass quality and barn performance. Using a screening in the slaughterhouse, the variation of initial pH was evaluated. Finally, a guide was prepared that included a compilation of management strategies that the pork industry. It is free to use for companies striving to produce more flavorful and quality pork . 


Improving the taste and meat quality of our pork is of great importance to the entire industry, from breeding and pig farming to consumers. From the VLEVAVLEES project, we remember that through attention to genetics (focus on end-beer lines), an improving meat quality can indeed be created. In particular, breed choice (Duroc vs. Piétrain) is a factor. The researchers measured increased meat quality, but also adverse effects to carcass quality and efficiency. It is up to the swine industry to determine the balance between negative economic consequences and improved meat quality. In turn, applying stress negative finishing lines within the same breed (e.g., Belgian Piétrain) provides better technological quality without sacrificing financial returns. Vaccinating earlier (4 vs. 6 vs. 8 weeks prior to slaughter) in immunocastration appears to lower carcass quality and positively affect meat quality only to a limited extent. Research efforts related to faster and more objective determination of quality led to detection methods that can very quickly classify color, pH 24 hours after slaughter, and intramuscular fat content.

Funding provider(s)
IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen

External partner(s)
Effective start/end date1/12/1630/11/20

Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

  • DMP not present


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