Several studies have demonstrated that the use of natural preservatives through animal diets could increase the shelf life of meat and meat products since many plant-derived substances show antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The aim of this work was to study the effect of olive cake dietary supplementation on beef oxidative stability and antimicrobial activity during storage. Beef cattle were randomly divided into three homogeneous groups that were assigned to one of the three diets: a commercial unified based diet administered for 90 days until slaughter (CTR), CTR diet supplemented with 0.5% olive cake administered for 90 days until slaughter (OC1), and CTR diet supplemented with 0.5% olive cake and administered for 60 days followed by the administration of the CTR diet for 30 days until slaughter (OC2). Beefsteaks were overwrapped with oxygen-permeable packaging and analysed at four different storage times (zero, three, six and nine days). At the four sampling times considered from all of the samples, total viable count (TVC), Enterobacteriaceae counts, colour coordinates (CIE L*a*b* colour system), peroxide value (PV), thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) determinations and descriptive sensory analyses were performed. No differences in TVC and Enterobacteriaceae count were detected among the groups over all of the sampling times considered. Differences were recorder among groups for PV, TBARS, colour and sensory analysis. The addition of olive cake in the animal diet had an effect on lipid oxidation reducing the level of PV, TBARS and retarding colour deterioration and the development of off odour in OC meat during storage.
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