Meat and Poul­try Prod­ucts Know how to store and han­dle them

Consumer Voice - - Surakshit Khadya Abhiyantm -

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.

Mi­cro­bial Con­tam­i­na­tion

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.

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