Main Article Content
The shelf-life of Halal fresh cut and minced beef meat, packaged under modified atmosphere (MAP) was evaluated. The microbial profile of the carcasses intended for cutting and mincing was investigated by detecting spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Samples of diced meat (DM), marrowbones (MB), steaks (S) and minced meat (MM) were packaged in MAP (66.0% O2, 25.0% CO2 and 9.0% N2) and stored at +2 and +8°C. At 0, 7 and 14 days, gas composition of headspace was measured. Moreover, in all the samples colony count at 30°C, Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and Pseudomonas spp. were determined. The carcasses contamination was in compliance with the criteria fixed by EC Reg. 2073/2005. Gas composition of the headspace changed significantly during the storage, mainly at +8°C, where a significant decrease of O2 (until 0.1-0.6%) and an increase of CO2 (until 81.0-89.0%) were recorded. This could be related to the level of LAB and Pseudomonas spp. Less significant changes were observed at +2°C. At 7 days of storage colony count, mean values were higher than >107 CFU/g in the samples at +8°C, and also at 14 days at +2°C, presumably due to the high levels of Pseudomonas spp., that was dominant at the end of the test. Overall, the microbial mean counts were higher than those detected in similar products packaged under vacuum. In order to extend the shelf-life of the fresh meat and meat preparations, differentiated gas mixtures, and particularly a higher percentage of CO2, could be employed.
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