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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11F060 Teagasc (DIT) €162,500

Project Title:

Novel pre-treatment regime to enhance the value and quality of vacuum packed retail cuts of beef

Project Coordinator:

Dr Paul Allen

Project Abstract

An advantage of current high oxygen MAP packaging systems is the production of a healthy red colour to beef. Unfortunately this is also accompanied by a loss of tenderness, off-smells and off tastes due to lipid oxidation and shorter shelf-life due to potential aerobic growth of spoilage microorganisms. Due to the total exclusion of oxygen, vacuum packed beef suffers from none of the above disadvantages, including a longer shelf-life but does produce beef with a very dark purplish colour which consumers do not find attractive. The objective here is to combine the advantages of the vacuum packed products with the “healthy” red colour of oxygenated meat. Carbon monoxide (CO) also induces the same red colour, it is more stable than that induced by oxygen and is also maintained after the gases have been removed and the product vacuum-packed. A primary concern of regulatory authorities is that it might be used to sell meat beyond its sellby-date as the bright red colour would still be evident. The work proposed here will induce the attractive colour by exposure of the beef to CO prior to vacuum packing. The redness will fade over time so that pre-treated and untreated vacuum packed products are the same darker colour by the use-by-date, thus ensuring the consumer of a reliable visual indication of freshness. A range of pre-treatment regimes (CO gas concentration, time of exposure [30 minutes to 72 hours] and time since slaughter) will be tested primary on Striploin (LD), but also on Fillet (PM), Sirloin (GM), Round (SM) and mince. Analysis will include colour, tenderness, lipid-oxidation, pH, drip-loss, cooking-loss and surface microbial counts.

Final Report:

Not available yet.