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What modified atmosphere for preservation of beef? Impact of modified atmosphere on the preservation of beef meat

The packaging of meats with a high oxygen atmosphere is being developed for retail distribution, being the renewed object of a large number of publications. This study shows that the high levels of oxygen used provide a “sales” appearance for a few days but have some inconveniences, notably concerning taste. The effects of a reduced oxygen level in the atmosphere (40% or 55% vs 70%) and/or those of headspace (reduced vs the usual levels) were studied in order to maximize the packaging benefits. Five types of high oxygen UVC beef were studied during a retail preservation period of 14 days. Testing was done on mass loss, color, microbiological quality and consumer preferences (appearance and taste). The development of altering microbial flora remains satisfactory during preservation. The meat is still marketable after 10 days of shelving, but shows discoloration before day 14. The trial did not show a major difference of testing associated with oxygen variations between 40 and 70%. However, the study confirmed that vacuum packaged meat has a superior taste. In fact, it seems that the volume of headspace can be lower under some conditions, which should interest packaging industrialists and retailers.

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