Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Improved treatment of natural sausage casings for quality improvement in automated stuffing process

Intestines of different origin are used in the meat processing industry as sausage casings.
During processing and consumption, natural casings have to fulfill a wide range of requirements.
These are for example a low number of microorganisms, certain functional properties like stability but also a spectrum of sensory properties.
Consequently, aims of the project were:

- to identify critical points during processing
- to improve the pulling process (cutting mesenterium from intestine)
- to develop improved or new methods for the treatment of natural casings
- to improve a stuffing machine with respect to the properties of natural casings to reduce the losses caused by the burst of casings during stuffing.

Main result of critical point analyses was that the processing steps do not influence the quality parameters of intestines negatively if the hygienic conditions meet the appropriated requirements. Only the pulling process had to be and the treatment can be improved.
Therefore, two general types of pulling knives (oscillating and rotating knife) were developed. These developments show the possibility to overcome the main problem of pulling process: the swinging movement of the intestines up and down and from left to right.
The way is to fix the intestine at the place of cutting by guides. The best results were obtained with an one sided front guide and a side guide which imitates the forefinger of the operator to bring and hold the connective tissue in the correct position for cutting.
Additives finally selected to be used for curing were food grade organic two acids and one base their Na-salts.
By using the selected salting and curing treatments, the total aerobic counts were lowered by using several log-units when compared to the initial contamination levels. Also, an increased reduction was found as compared to the blanks.
Performed tests showed that the visco-elastical behavior of meat batter causes pressure peaks in the stuffing system. This leads to the burst of the casing during filling in the production process and so to losses for the sausage industry.
The control system was modified to give the meat batter the necessary time for relaxation.
In that way it was possible to reduce the burst rate of sausages during filling for about 20-40 percent.

Reported by

Deutches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik eV
Prof V Klitzing-Str. 7
49610 Quakenbrück
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