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Review of Centralized Packaging Systems for Distribution of Retail-Ready Meat

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There is growing interest in centralized preparation of retail-ready meat cuts for distribution to widely dispersed retail stores due to the convenience of having high-quality ready-to-go products that are consistently provided to consumers at lower cost. Various centralized packaging techniques are described. Of all packaging techniques, master packaging is the most economical and shows promise for commercial application. Nevertheless, the master-packaging technique must be integrated with strict temperature control in a narrow range just above freezing (−1.5 + 0.5°C), good processing hygiene, and maintenance of a completely anoxic atmosphere in the package headspace throughout the distribution period to maximize storage life. Packaging using the CAPTECH process reduces the residual O2 present in the headspace to 300 ppm. Oxygen scavengers must be incorporated in the package to absorb the residual O2 and preserve the metmyoglobin reducing activity of meat tissues. Integration of all these technologies can provide a storage life of retail-ready meat up to 10 weeks in the master package followed by 3 days of retail display life. This extension of storage life is sufficient for transporting meat to distant markets.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biosystems Engineering, 438 Engineering Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg R3T 5V6, Canada 2: Department of Food Science, 250 Ellis Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg R3T 2N2, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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