The physicochemical and sensory differences between the PGI-Certified Ternera de Navarra (CTNA) (Spanish origin) and Certified Angus Beef (CAB) (US origin) were assessed in Spain and the USA. To characterize the carcasses, the ribeye areas (REAs), and marbling levels were assessed in both testing places. Twenty striploins per certified beef program were used as study samples. For sensory analysis, the striploins were vacuum packaged and aged for 7 days at 4 °C and 85% RH in each corresponding laboratory. Thereafter, the samples were half cut and frozen. One of the halves was shipped to the other counterpart-testing place. The fat and moisture percentage content, Warner Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF), and total and soluble collagen were tested for all the samples. The CAB carcasses had smaller REAs (p < 0.0001) and exhibited higher marbling levels (p < 0.0001). The CAB striploins had a higher fat content (p < 0.0001) and required lower WBSF (p < 0.05) than the CTNA samples. Trained panelists rated the CAB samples as juicer (p < 0.001), more tender/less tough (p < 0.0001), and more flavorful (p < 0.0001) than the CTNA counterparts. This study shows that beef from both countries had medium-high tenderness, juiciness, and beef flavor scores and very low off-flavor scores. Relevant differences found between the ratings assigned by the Spanish and the US panelists suggest training differences, or difficulties encountered in using the appropriate terminology for defining each sensory attribute. Furthermore, the lack of product knowledge (i.e., consumption habits) may have been another reason for such differences, despite the blind sensory evaluation.
Keywords: Certified Angus Beef; Pirenaica; Protected Geographical Indication; Ternera de Navarra; USDA standard; country of origin; sensory profile.