The use of anabolic implants has a longstanding place in the cattle feeding industry, due to their positive impact on growth performance and subsequent profitability. However, implants can have adverse effects on carcass quality, shear force, and eating quality depending on the dose and frequency, or what some refer to as the aggressiveness of the implant regimen administered. Within the past decade, a new class of growth promotants, known as β-adrenergic agonists (βAA), has emerged in the beef feeding industry in the United States. Currently, 2 have gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use in beef finishing diets to improve performance and carcass yields. Much like anabolic implants, these repartitioning agents can have negative effects on Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF), but the differences do not necessarily translate directly to consumer responses for palatability and acceptance in some instances, especially when tenderness is managed through proper postmortem aging. As researchers continued to investigate the mechanisms responsible for the impact of βAA, inevitably this led to consideration of the interaction between βAA and anabolic implants. Early work combining zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) with anabolic implants improved performance, carcass yield, and meat yield with additive negative effects on WBSF. Similar results were produced when pairing ZH with anabolic steroids equipped with various release patterns. As with any tool, the key to success is proper management. Certain cattle populations may be better suited to receive growth promotants such as implants and βAA, and postmortem management of subprimal cuts becomes vital when producers take more aggressive approaches to improve performance and yield. The objective of this review is to overview research findings related to the impact of growth promotant technologies on beef palatability, focusing specifically on the role of implants and βAA on carcass quality, beef tenderness, and consumer responses for meat palatability.
- Consumer acceptability