Main Article Content
The aim of the present research is to propose a new, quick and objective method for the certification of hunted and/or culled wild game meat quality and to monitor its origin and the hunting practices adopted by hunters. The expected deliverable is a new labelling scheme for Italian hunted wild game meat that will guarantee high quality and safety standards for consumers and will decrease transaction costs of the supply chains. During the 2015, 2016 and 2017 hunting seasons, 1,056 hunted wild ungulates were sampled. Specifically, alpine chamois (n=537), roe deer (n=113), red deer (n=342) and wild boar (n=64), which were all hunted in the VCO2-Ossola Nord hunting district (Verbania Province, Piedmont, Italy). Samples of the longissimus dorsi were collected to evaluate the nutritional parameters and the acid profiles of the products. As a measure of meat quality, pH values have been recorded after slaughtering by inserting a probe in the semimembranosus muscle. The results were categorized as DFD (pH≥6,2), intermediate DFD (5,8≤pH<6,2) and high-quality meat (pH <5,8). As explanatory variables for the quality of wild game meat, differences based on age, gender and hunting practices were considered. Concerning the latter variables, measures were collected from animals received at hunting districts control centers by trained technicians who also collected information on the hunting practices, i.e., bleeding and evisceration of the carcasses and number of shots. Nutritional values showed low fat (<3 g per 100 g), low saturated fat (<1,5 g per 100 g) and high protein contents. Furthermore, wild game meat has high values of ω3 and CLA, ensuring a positive ω6/ω3 ratio. Differences were found in the concentrations of fat between age and gender, considering that during the mating season, adult males’ weight loss can exceed 40%. Hunting practices seem to affect meat quality.