Meat and Poultry Products Know how to store and handle them
Many different types of bacteria can grow on animal products. It is important to safely handle and store all types of such products. There are a few things to keep in mind when storing food: for example, how to safely handle food to prevent foodborne illness, the types of containers you use, and how long foods normally last in the refrigerator or freezer. Proper storage reduces the risk of food contamination and poisonng.
These are among the symptoms that will straightaway tell us whether the meat/ meat product is spoiled: change in odour, discolouration, surface slime, sour meat, sticky surface, perforated packets/cans, and foul odour. Several factors related to preslaughter handling, processing and storage may be responsible for spoilage: type of animal and breed, age of the animal at the time of slaughter, availability of oxygen, hygiene and handling practices, chemical properties of meat, microbial contamination and enzymatic and chemical activities.
Enzymatic and Chemical Activities in Meat
The lactic acid present in the muscles plays an important role in determining the acidity of the meat. If the content of the lactic acid is more in the meat, then it will be more acidic and this in turn will lead to the breakdown of the protein. Breakdown of protein leads to development of off-odours and off-flavour in the meat.
Similarly, undesirable changes occur in meat when the lipids in the meat oxidise and interact with other constituents such as pigments, proteins and carbohydrates. The enzymes in the meat break down the protein and lipids, making the meat tender, but this must be controlled since excessive breakdown can also lead to souring and thereby lead to the development of off-flavours.
Meat is a nutritious food substance and thus microbes that are dependent on protein, carbohydrates and fats can flourish on meat products – the resultant microbial contamination can lead to spoilage of meat and make it unfit for human consumption.
The shelf life of meat can be extended by avoiding the contamination of meat by microbes.