The ability of CLA in improving technological quality of meat and meat product is related to their capacity in increase tissue saturation (Corino et al., 2006). Because of their susceptibility to oxidation, high levels of PUFA can have detrimental effects on the sensorial and technical qualities of pork products, reducing acceptability to consumers. The Parma Ham Production Consortium recommended in pig adipose tissue a maximum level of 70 for iodine value, a measure of unsaturation, and therefore an indirect indicator of fat firmness, to avoid fat quality problems. In our studies on heavy pig fed CLA we observed a reduction in iodine value of the adipose tissue (Corino et al., 2003; Corino et al., 2005). Thus CLA resulted usefulness as a dietary supplement in heavy pigs, a species of food animal that is important for a typical Italian product. Moreover, the CLA ability to modifying fatty acid composition increase meat oxidative stability and, as a consequence, its shelf life. In our studies on heavy pigs and rabbit we observed that dietary CLA supplementation improve muscle oxidative stability, measured as TBARS (Corino et al., 2003; Corino et al., 2007).
Dietary CLA supplementation in heavy pig and rabbit significantly increased muscle CLA concentration in both meat and meat product (Pastorelli et al., 2005; Lo Fiego et al., 2005; Corino et al., 2007). The increase of CLA content suggests that the nutritional quality for human consumption may be improved and this is important in addition to the potential value-added marketing to health conscious consumers. Moreover, given the beneficial effects that CLA is acknowledged to have on human health, the possibility of increasing the CLA content in meat and cured ham appears to represent an opportunity to increase the healthfulness of these products.