Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Georgia HBCU Researches How to Tenderize Goat Meat: Changing "Chewy" Texture of the Meat Could Position It as the Nation's Next Health Fad, Researchers Say

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Georgia HBCU Researches How to Tenderize Goat Meat: Changing "Chewy" Texture of the Meat Could Position It as the Nation's Next Health Fad, Researchers Say

Article excerpt

If goat meat seems a little tough for you, researchers at Fort Valley State University in Georgia have found a way to make it easier to chew.

FVSU's ability to tenderize low-fat goat meat for an American palate is part of ongoing research to raise chemically free goats, which could position the meat as the nation's next health fad.

The consumption of goat meat in America has been primarily confined to a niche market composed of people from Middle Eastern, African and Caribbean nations. Americans who did not grow up with goat meat in their diet are not accustomed to the meat's unique texture and flavor, and they perceive it as being chewy, says Dr. Govind Kannan, an associate professor of animal science at FVSU.

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Borrowing from techniques used to tenderize beef, pork and lamb, Kannan's research team announced at recent animal science and food conferences in San Antonio and Chicago that the two tenderization methods also work with goat meat. FVSU is the first animal research lab in the United States to successfully use the techniques in goats.

One technique involves injecting calcium chloride combined with a spice mix into goat meat. In the other tenderization method, hydrodynamic pressure processing exposes packaged meat to a supersonic shock wave under water.

The calcium chloride process stimulates the enzyme in the meat to break down the protein structure, Kannan says. Hydrodynamic pressure processing physically breaks down the protein structure. Both processes improve the palatability of goat meat without altering its nutritional value, he added. If the methods work on other red meats, "why not goat meat," Kannan says.

"We are the only ones in the U.S. who are doing a lot of research with goat meat," Kannan says, adding that the majority of this research is being done at historically Black colleges and universities like FVSU.

More than 1.5 million pounds of goat meat is imported into the United States each week from New Zealand and Australia. Consumers look to foreign growers because U.S. farmers and meat processors aren't keeping pace with the demand for the meat, Kannan says.

Most large-scale meat processors are primarily set up for beef, pork and sheep, not goat meat. …

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