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Science Extends Shelf Life of Fresh Meat

by 5m Editor
24 July 2006, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2202. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape, Episode 2202

A food science professor with the University of Manitoba says new sanitation compounds and procedures, tighter temperature controls and new packaging materials have allowed processors to dramatically increase the shelf life of fresh meat products.

The investigation and control of factors that cause spoilage in meat will be among the topics explored next month in Calgary when the Canadian Meat Council hosts a symposium on advanced methods in quality control of meat and meat products.

U of M food science professor Dr. Richard Holley says science has a pretty good handle on factors that influence the safety and shelf life of fresh meat products.

"Over a period of the last 15 years, I would say, we've seen shelf life extensions from 30 days with pork to 55 days, largely as a result of improvements in plant sanitation, temperature control as well as improvements in packaging materials and also packing approaches using some of those materials.

I'm thinking now of film materials which, while they have low oxygen transmission, are shrinkable so you get less opportunity for spaces in the package, between the package and the surface of meat, and get therefore less extraction of the liquid material during storage and shipment, distribution to customers.

You prevent that from happening, you also prevent blood pigment precipitation on the surface of the meat and then discoloration that occurs as a result, which is a periodic problem."

Dr. Holley notes, while the major issues associated with extension of shelf life are microbial, the growth of bacteria, there are also physical characteristics that are important in maximizing product shelf life.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor