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Irradiation and Packaging of Fresh Meat and Poultry

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Extensive research on the irradiation of fresh meat and poultry has been carried out during the past 40 years; yet there is a need for consideration of combined use with other technologies such as modified atmosphere (MA) packaging. Some of the past work has focused on spoilage microorganisms and pathogens, whereas other reports emphasize the sensory quality of fresh meat and poultry. Reports published indicate that the effects of irradiation in conjunction with packaging vary depending upon the kind of meat and poultry and the atmosphere composition in the package. Irradiation may result in off-flavor and/or odor and discoloration of fresh meat and poultry in packages containing air (oxygen). One concern is that pathogens may grow and/or produce toxins in irradiated meat or poultry packaged using modified atmospheres because of a lack of competing organisms. This is of even greater concern if spoilage is suppressed and does not provide the usual warning signals. On the other hand, even though there is some evidence of the growth of pathogens in temperature-abuse conditions, most reports have indicated that spoilage preceded toxin production. Therefore, considering the sensory quality and concerns for safety, the effects of irradiation in combination with vacuum or MA packaging of fresh meat and poultry should be studied further. More complete information is needed to ensure the appropriate use of vacuum or MA packaging in combination with irradiation for the safety of fresh meat and poultry.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Meat Laboratory, Department of Animal Science, Immunology and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA 2: Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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