The objective of this proposal is to eliminate or substantially reduce pathogenic and lood spoilage micro-organisms from the surface of meat and meat products.
Five partners from five european nations are involved in this submission to develop treatments for meat and meat products that will extend their safe shelf life without changing their appearance or other organoleptic characteristics. This submission directly addresses the requirements set out in section 3.3 (Advanced and optimised technologies and processes) of the FAIR Work programrne. It specifically addresses section 3 . 3 .2 (Advanced technologies ) and complies with the subsections on minimal processes, combination processes, emerging unit operations and process flexibility . The successful completion of the project will provide direct benefits to EU consumers by providing them with a larger range of safer, potentially cheaper meat and meat products of higher quality. Food manufacturers, retailers and consumers will benefit from the increased shelf life. Methods to remove or destroy surface organisms can be broadly divided into those using physical or chemical agents. Of the physical methods, the application of steam has been shown to effect the greatest reduction of total microbial counts, 6 log 10 cfu cm-2 reductions. However, the direct application of steam caused noticeable shrinkage and distortion of the skin surface, darkening and a slight yellow discoloration 24 hours after treatment . A small number of laboratory studies on poultry showed that utilising the condensation of steam at subatmospheric pressure was an effective method of decontaminating chicken drumsticks and carcasses. Reductions of up to 5.6 log10 cfu cm-2 were achieved and the shelf life at 3 C extended from 6 to 19 days. with meat products flash steam heating, 30 to 40 s at 115-13 6 C, followed by evaporative cooling reduced numbers of Listeria innocua on the surface of beef frankfurters by 4 log cycles without affecting appearance . These studies indicate that rapid, controlled, but very localised heating and subsequent cooling have the potential to destroy surface micro-organisms without causing quality changes to meat.The majority of studies on chemical decontaminants have been on the use of organic acids which appear to be the most acceptable form of chemical decontamination. The overall conclusions from the studies and reviews are that organic acids can reduce the numbers of pathogenic and spoilage organisms typically by 1.2 to 3 .5 log10 cycles per unit area or volume. They also have a residual effect which can result in an extension of shelf life of 7 to 17 days. Greater reductions in bacterial numbers have always been achieved when organic acids are used in combination with higher temperatures . There is disagreement on the optimum concentration and combination of acids to use which indicates that the optimum is a function of the product being decontaminated. The synergistic effects of two decontamination systems which individually have advantages may be great. The proposed research will determine the effect of rapid temperature cycles on micro-organisms present on the surface of different meats and meat products and the synergistic effects of organic acids. It will quantify the limitations on temperature time cycles and acid concentrations imposed by organoleptic considerations. Extensions of shelf life will be quantified and special attention paid to the possibility of pathogen growth due to reduced competition from spoilage flora. It will study the engineering problems of ensuring an even distribution of condensing vapour/acid on all areas of the exposed surface. Methods will be developed to scale up the pilot scale studies to full industrial practice.
FinanzierungsplanCSC - Cost-sharing contracts