Fat is one of the most important traits determining the quality of pork. The composition of the fat greatly influences the quality of pork and its processed products, and contribute to defining the overall carcass value. However, establishing an efficient method for assessing fat quality parameters such as fatty acid composition, solid fat content, oxidative stability, iodine value, and fat color, remains a challenge that must be addressed. Conventional methods such as visual inspection, mechanical methods, and chemical methods are used off the production line, which often results in an inaccurate representation of the process because the dynamics are lost due to the time required to perform the analysis. Consequently, rapid, and non-destructive alternative methods are needed. In this paper, the traditional fat quality assessment techniques are discussed with emphasis on spectroscopic techniques as an alternative. Potential spectroscopic techniques include infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance and Raman spectroscopy. Hyperspectral imaging as an emerging advanced spectroscopy-based technology is introduced and discussed for the recent development of assessment for fat quality attributes. All techniques are described in terms of their operating principles and the research advances involving their application for pork fat quality parameters. Future trends for the non-destructive spectroscopic techniques are also discussed.
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