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What is WHC?

WHC is defined as the ability of meat to hold its native and added moisture during fabrication and through processing.

Because 75% of the weight of lean skeletal muscle is water, retaining and controlling the location of this inherent or added water is critical to maximizing yield and quality. Thus, controlling any single factor or combination of factors that affect the ability of meat to retain moisture should improve company profitability.

Listed in Table I-1 are numerous meat traits that are strongly correlated with WHC. Most of these traits are directly related to consumer-desired parameters of tenderness, juiciness and flavor; meat color and appearance in packages; and numerous meat processing factors that are directly related to protein functionality, processing scheduling; protocols for effective non-thermal and thermal processing, and most importantly, product YIELDS. Finally, if WHC is properly managed, many other operational variables will also improve, all of which will result in greater consumer satisfaction with products and fewer product complaints and returns.

Table I-1. List of associations between WHC and other meat traits.