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The stiffening of the muscles in an animal shortly after it has been slaughtered. Complete Rigor Mortis in beef occurs in approximately six to twelve hours while in pork it typically is quicker, from one to six hours. When the carcass is chilled to less than 60 degrees F. too soon after slaughtering and prior to complete Rigor Mortis, the meat will become tougher than normal. If the carcass is frozen prior to complete Rigor Mortis, the meat will be extremely tough. The tougher consistency of the meat caused by these conditions cannot be corrected so it is wise to make sure meat is propertly processed in order to insure the best quality and tenderness.
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