Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Improving meat safety and quality using modified atmospheres and assessment by novel methods

For nearly all of the pathogens studied, growth in the modified atmosphere packing (MAP) was suppressed or retarded in comparison to the vacuum-pack control. Only in the case of verotoxigenic Escherichia coli on beef packaged in an atmosphere of 20% carbon dioxide/80% oxygen, was this not the case. For the 20% carbon dioxide/80% oxygen atmosphere, however, a more realistic control would be aerobic packaging; in this comparison even this modified atmosphere demonstrated an improvement The findings of this programme suggest that fears concerning pathogen growth in meat and meat products packaged in MAP have been exaggerated.

As well as this outcome, the programme has added to the body of scientific knowledge concerning the physicochemical changes that occur in meat, during storage, when packed in MAP, and the relationship of these changes to the developing microflora. Production of lactic acid, including its isomers D-lactic acid and L-lactic acid, has been monitored. Changes in gas composition, which may relate directly to microbial growth, may provide the means for the development of a non-invasive sensor of in-pack quality. A chemfet hydrogen sensor has shown promise as an indicator of the numbers of Enterobacteriaceae present within a pack and, through the deliberate inclusion of a trace of hydrogen in the initial atmosphere, for the detection of leaking packs.

Reported by

Agricultural University of Athens
Iera Odos 15
11855 Athens
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