Processing Technology

September 2014

How to determine the shelf life of meat and poultry products

Shelf life of meat and poultry products is important for many reasons including those related to quality, safety and profit. It significantly impacts more...

August 2014

Alternatives to pasteurization and sterilization

Preservation methods that impede microbial growth include refrigeration and freezing, reduction of water activity, acidification, adding preservatives more...

Four reasons to use LED lighting in your facility

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are semiconductor devices that emit light of a single wavelength. Visible (blue, green and white) and infrared LEDs became more...

A comparison of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure processing for fresh meat

Ensuring safety and consistent tenderness in fresh meats are two areas of primary importance in meat industry for more than 50 years. Development of commercial more...

July 2014

Poultry Basics: Four yield considerations on the cutup floor

It’s no surprise that the way the chicken products are offered for consumption varies widely across continents and countries. In some regions live more...

June 2014

Focus on equipment for yield improvement

Product yields are no doubt important for meat and poultry processing. Whether we are talking about purge losses, thermal processing related cooking losses more...

AMSA Exclusive: Technology’s future in protein production

Editor's Note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

Packaging robotics applications for plant automation

A lot has been changing on the floor of meat processing plants. Thanks to innovations in technology and evolving regulations, automation has increasingly more...

How to reduce risk and prevent quality changes with electronic pasteurization

Irradiation has been widely used for spices and other food ingredients for many years. For meat, irradiation is just now emerging into a significant commercial more...

May 2014

AMSA Exclusive: New approaches to adding value to processed meats

Editor's Note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

Processors leverage HPP to fight spoilage, pathogens

It is no surprise that consumer demand continues to grow for conveniently packaged meat products. However shoppers are now searching store shelves for more...

April 2014

Using hydrogen peroxide and UV light to disinfect hatching eggs

For most of us working in the poultry industry, the idea of sanitizing hatching eggs prior to incubation is a dream because a practical and effective more...

AMSA Exclusive: Processed meats microbiology

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

March 2014

Critical steps for validation of lethality of thermal process

Thermal processing is used to prepare cooked, fermented and dried meat and poultry ready-to-eat (RTE) products to improve quality and texture but also more...

How to comply with USDA’s food defense rules

Food defense is a voluntary program encouraged by the USDA and FDA to provide protection against intentional contamination of food products. USDA defines more...

February 2014

New processing opportunities for sodium reduction in RTE meats

Salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) represents an important ingredient added to meats formulations to increase gelation, water holding capacity and fat retention more...

AMSA Exclusive: Packaging for processed meats

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

January 2014

Advances in approved in-plant antimicrobial interventions for poultry

In July of 2011, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) implemented new performance standards for Campylobacter as well as revised performance more...

AMSA Exclusive: Food safety performance through HACCP

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

Advances in rapid pathogen detection

Recent recalls and outbreaks caused by foodborne pathogens are bringing great impact to personal lives, business and national economies. According to more...

December 2013

Advances in ovenable films for beef products

The modern consumer leads an increasingly hectic, on-the-go lifestyle, making it more and more difficult to prepare meals from scratch. He is instead more...

New ISO irradiation standard: What it means for processors

Food irradiation is a process exposing foods to ionizing irradiation. Irradiation is used in many countries in order to improve food products safety and more...

November 2013

Advancements in meat and poultry forming technologies

Forming has been used for decades in a variety of applications, for several purposes and with numerous benefits. It has allowed the meat industry to create more...

October 2013

New opportunities in food innovation with HPP

High hydrostatic pressure technology (also known as high pressure processing, or HPP) and typically defined as a process of 100-1,000 MPa (megapascals) more...

How to develop thermal processing schedules

Thermal processing is still one of the most useful tools available to the meat and poultry industries to effectively eliminate or reduce-to-acceptable-levels more...

Choosing the right conveyor belt for your application

Conveyor belts are often the most over-looked equipment in a processing system but are probably one of the most important as they transport product and more...

September 2013

Next-generation technologies in knife science

Knives and blades are among the most basic and yet most important tools in a meat processor’s arsenal. They include dicing blades, skinning blades more...

AMSA Exclusive: Conversion of muscle to meat

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

August 2013

Novel approaches to monitor dressing practices in beef processing

From a microbial point of view, conversion of live cattle into beef carcasses can be divided into four phases: Phase 1 is the process involved from bleeding more...

July 2013

Advances in slicing for bone-in pork and beef

Earlier this year the National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program received unanimous approval from the Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification more...

Advancements in microwave packaging for bacon

Food companies continue to refine and modify the susceptor technology that has existed for years to cook packaged bacon in the microwave. Still, the advancements more...

Equipment factors to consider when making artisan sausages

Many of the recently popular artisan sausage products are regional in nature and produced as a way for processors to distinguish themselves from their more...

June 2013

Novel technologies: Head-only poultry stunning (VIDEO)

The Dutch poultry trade association Nepluvi says that in the European Union, 72 percent of birds do not receive the correct amount of stunning, whether more...

Latest developments in the equation to predict lean pork

When it comes to measurement of the composition of hogs on the rail, the United States and Europe are on distinctly different paths. In 1991, there was more...

AMSA Exclusive: Conventional and natural curing for processed meat products

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series of exclusive articles provided by authors commissioned by the American Meat Science Association in more...

May 2013

Optimizing the mechanical separation process

Mechanically separated poultry meat is an ingredient widely used in processed meat and poultry products. However, the quality of this ingredient is important more...

Novel technologies: Very Fast Chill processing

As faster forming equipment has allowed processors to make products even quicker and more efficiently, customers naturally wanted faster freezing technology more...

April 2013

Advances in meat tenderization

Improving tenderness of meat – especially beef – is a proven method to increase consumer ratings of eating satisfaction. Tenderness is generally more...

The science behind probiotics in poultry production

The use of probiotics in animal production is not a new concept: Up to 60 percent of the beef and dairy cattle industries have been using it for many more...

March 2013

What’s on tap for next-generation X-ray technology

The use of x-ray technology has been used in the poultry industry recent years to detect bones and other physical contaminants. This has been particularly more...

February 2013

Five things to consider when installing an HPP system

High-pressure pasteurization (HPP) is a fairly new technology that not only extends shelf-life of products but also adds another level of food safety more...

Salmonella risks in the lymph nodes

Bacterial contamination is responsible for vast numbers of foodborne illnesses each year in the United States. Salmonella enterica is one of the leading more...

January 2013

Novel processing technologies from around the world

Growing industrialization of food production, globalization and trade of the food supply made food safety perhaps the most important issue for food and more...

December 2012

Taking advantage of UV light benefits to control microorganisms

Foodborne and waterborne pathogens are the largest group of microorganisms that present health hazards in the food industry. Some of these organisms can more...

Making the most of protein functionality with tumbling, extrusion, forming and injecting on protein functionality

Functional proteins are important for providing desirable product quality attributes such as texture, fat binding, water hold capacities, yield, and even more...

November 2012

Optimizing fresh poultry shelf life with CO packaging

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is generally achieved by altering the initial headspace gas concentration in the pack. After vacuuming the pack, high more...

Cutting demo: Ribeye cap (Video)

Third-generation butcher and James Beard Award-nominated author of The Art of Beef Cutting, Kari Underly knows her beef. She's also a huge fan of the more...

October 2012

Cutting demo: Ribeye filets (Video)

Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher and James Beard Award-nominated author of The Art of Beef Cutting, says that as subprimals continue to get larger more...

September 2012

Poultry Basics: Water and air chilling -- Which is better for your needs?

Chilling practices are a major factor in controlling the degree of cross contamination in chicken carcasses. Commonly used practices in the commercial more...

July 2012

Novel approaches to rapid chilling

Cooked, ready-to-eat meat products make up a large segment of the processed meat industry and one that is increasingly popular with consumers. Most of more...

June 2012

An in-depth look at E. coli interventions

Some strains of the enterohemorragic group of E. coli and other shiga toxin-producing serotypes (STEC), such as the O157:H7, O26, O91, O103, O111, O118 more...

May 2012

Specifying 101: Application of electro-magnetic heating (part 3 of 3)

Editor’s note: This is the third of a three-part series of technical articles this month on how to specify some of the more innovative equipment more...

Specifying 101: Is UV right for your operation? (part 2 of 3)

Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series of technical articles this month on how to specify some of the more innovative equipment more...

Specifying 101: Adapting HPP to your operation (part 1 of 3)

Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series of technical articles this month on how to specify some of the more innovative equipment more...

April 2012

How to reduce microbial growth in poultry operations

Archeologists have estimated that man has used fire for 300,000 years and ovens dating back 40,000 years, but it was only 150 years ago that Louis Pasteur more...

March 2012

Best physical-chemical interventions for beef slaughter

The beef industry has been focused on dealing with E. coli O157:H7 since the 1993 Jack in the Box outbreak, making beef contamination with E. coli O157:H7 more...

January 2012

Determining cooked product shelf life

Initial steps in determining shelf-life – the length of time that a food product can be stored without an appreciable change in quality or safety more...

December 2011

Advances in X-ray inspection/metal and bone detection

Although metal detection has been used for years in various applications with good success, bone detection in boneless product is a newer trend, and many more...

November 2011

Maintaining an ozone system

Ozone production systems can be a useful tool as a disinfecting agent – but it is essential that an operator of such a system understands the science more...

Correct management of online reprocessing systems

For processors, the top priority is the unquestionable safety of the products. It is no different in Brazil than anywhere else. Brazilian poultry processors more...

Selecting a starter culture for fermented products

Since it is the one group of products for which growth of microorganisms is actually encouraged rather than viewed as a major problem, fermented products more...

October 2011

Working with coated casings

Casings are a critical component for successfully manufacturing processed meat products. By definition, they serve as a governing force in the conversion more...

Designing microwave RTE products for quality-conscious consumers

Microwave heating refers to the use of electromagnetic waves of certain frequencies to generate heat in a material. Typically, microwave food processing more...

New findings on poultry electrical stimulation

Boneless, skinless broiler breast is a very popular meat product, becoming – in fact – a staple item in both retail and foodservice. Tenderness more...

August 2011

Cook-in-bag preparations: How to do it right

Cook-in-bag preparations are increasing in popularity, partially due to the demand for convenience meat products and prevention of Listeria monocytogenes more...

Muscle manipulation -- a new way to tenderize meat

Tenderness is the meat trait most associated with overall palatability, especially for whole muscle cuts such as steaks and chops. Improving tenderness more...

New findings on inhibition of pink coloration in poultry meat

Pinking in poultry meat has always been an issue for industry and consumers. It is a quality issue that can result in economic loss. Essentially, pinking more...

Maximizing marinade yields and costs by managing equipment parameters

Marination is the process of incorporating salts, spices and herbs into foods such as meat, fish and shrimp to improve flavor and texture. Marination more...

Preparing meat for whole muscle formed products

Whole muscle formed products are an economical and convenient way to improve the characteristics of whole muscle products by utilizing smaller pieces more...

July 2011

Using antioxidants to extend the shelf life of further processed meat

Lipid oxidation may affect the overall shelf life of meat and poultry products. Once lipid oxidation starts, changes in color, texture, flavor, odor and more...

Useful ingredients for natural, clean labels

Many ingredients are used to provide desirable attributes processed meat applications such as maximum yields, desirable texture, cured color, extended more...

A primer in high-pressure processing

He has been researching high-pressure processing (HPP) applications for about 15 years, tracking the century-old concept as it moved from Japanese research more...

June 2011

Pre-cooking convenience meats

Consumer demand for convenience has led to the creation of meat products and entrées that are fully cooked and reheated in the microwave before more...

Increasing shelf-life of marinated fresh poultry with the use of antimicrobials

Marinated poultry is popular among consumers for many reasons, primarily because of taste, convenience and perceived value. As a fresh product, one of more...

May 2011

Advances in beef carcass cleaning

Beef carcass cleaning has been thought of as “carcass washing”. Historically, water has been used to reduce microbial contamination and remove more...

Advances in evaluation of carcass quality for pork

In general, pork quality is a combination of traits that provide for a wholesome, attractive, appetizing, nutritious and palatable product (Kauffman et more...

April 2011

Knife science: What are the newest technologies for food safety, worker safety, efficacy in this most basic of equipment?

In many ways, the basic shape and functionality of knives has changed little since mankind first fashioned them from volcanic rock more than 2 million more...

Microbiology basics: understanding microbial growth

One of the most common groups of microorganisms studied in microbiology are bacteria. Their presence in meat processing, and managing that presence, is more...

March 2011

Advances in beef stunning methods

It is imperative that beef cattle slaughtered for food production be rendered instantly unconscious (stunned insensible) prior to slaughter.  Traditional more...

Stunning technology improvements for pork

Recent improvements in stunning technology for hogs have been hard to come by, with much of the research having been conducted over 10 years ago, and more...

January 2011

New further processed poultry products: Mimicking beef and pork

Many products traditionally made from beef or pork have market potential for poultry, from coarse ground to sausages to ready-to-eat meals. Consumer demand more...

December 2010

Equipment factors to consider when making artisan sausages

The key to making high-end artisan product is using the craft and artisan spirit of days past, while embracing advancements in processing technology in more...

Weighing the pros and cons of anatomical deboning vs. dynamic deboning for pork

Anatomical deboning, which involves identifying and removing whole muscles from the carcass, is potentially a way to increase retail yields of pork while more...

November 2010

Evaluating rapid cooling methods

The requirements for chilling cooked meat products to meet USDA safety requirements and maximize product quality have provided a significant challenge more...

Optimizing ground beef process design

The production of ground beef has changed drastically in recent years, mostly in response to safety concerns and the need to “test and hold” more...

October 2010

Optimizing the use of CO packaging to extend shelf life of fresh poultry meat

In general, there are two main kinds of headspace-altering packaging techniques: The first is modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), and the second is controlled more...

September 2010

Adapting your process for ritual slaughter

Kosher and Halal describe what is "fit and proper" to eat for two groups of people, Jews and Muslims, respectively. These religious-based means of producing more...

Adapting 'green' packaging materials to your products

Governments and regulatory agencies are pushing a “green” agenda, adding to consumer advocate pressure for food packagers to use more environmentally more...

August 2010

Natural vs. artificial casings: Evaluating which is best for your product

In any discussion of natural vs. artificial casings, it is necessary to consider the properties of each type of casing independently and determine how more...

Selecting the best meat tenderization method for your product

Tenderness is the most important “taste” factor influencing enjoyment of meat. There are several tried and true methods to improve meat tenderness more...

Adapting your process for ritual slaughter

Converting a conventional poultry processing plant for ritual slaughter involves more than might seem obvious. There is a misconception that the only more...

Managing the pros and cons of anatomical deboning vs. dynamic deboning for beef

First let’s define anatomical and dynamic deboning. Anatomical deboning is fabricating cuts from whole muscles whenever possible; this has been more...

Utilizing starches to maximize processing yields

Starches can be derived from a variety of carbohydrate sources. Dent corn, waxy corn, tapioca, potato, rice, and wheat are all common sources of starch more...

July 2010

Sausage 101: Basic manufacturing of salami

A great variety of salamis exist throughout the world. Their variations are mainly related to the type of meat used, if it is fermented or cooked, the more...

Improving ground meat products with new extenders

The use of extenders is not a new concept for ground meat; the idea that extenders can "improve" ground meat is. Previous meat extenders were more...

June 2010

Evaluating packaging alternatives for heat-and-serve meals

Paul Dawson contributed this piece. The thought of meat-based pre-packaged meals take some of us back to frozen TV dinners and boil-in-bag entrees of more...

Using soy protein as an extender for emulsified products

The protein in soy beans is considered one of the most complete vegetable proteins. As an ingredient for meat products, soy protein can enhance sensory more...

Optimizing sanitation with robotics

According to Webster a robot is either a device that automatically performs complicated, often repetitive, tasks or any mechanism guided by automatic more...

May 2010

Optimizing CO packaging to extend fresh meat shelf life

The use of carbon monoxide (CO) for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) of fresh meat is a relatively recent option for the meat industry. Approval of more...

April 2010

Choosing the best smoking method for your product

The application of smoke to meat products has evolved dramatically from what was once a relatively crude process to what is now a highly controlled, science-based more...

March 2010

Understanding natural/organic curing systems

Processed meats labeled as "natural" have experienced rapid market growth because these products are perceived to be more healthy and wholesome more...

Improving poultry meat texture and yield

Live animal handling, post-rigor muscle biochemistry and the inclusion of non-meat ingredients through tumbling and/or injection have an impact on breast more...

Weighing the pros and cons of high-pressure pasteurization

High-pressure pasteurization has been used in the food industry for several decades. The process works by applying extremely high pressure to foods, holding more...

February 2010

Formulating low-fat meat batters for hot dogs and bologna

Now more than ever, consumers are choosing healthier, lower-fat foods. Given the fact that fat is part of meat, this presents a challenge to processors more...

January 2010

Basic manufacturing of bacon

Manufacturing bacon is a simple process that usually involves injection followed by a short massaging process and cooking along with smoking and chilling more...

December 2009

The three most common errors processors make with vacuum packaging

Vacuum packaging fills so many bills for processors: It's efficient and it makes packing and shipping more efficient; it shows off the product nicely more...

November 2009

Anticipating shelf life with predictive microbiology

While predictive microbiology has existed for nearly a century, it has only recently come into widespread use. Predictive microbiology is a quantitative more...

Evaluating packaging options to maximize color stability

Color stability is one of the most fragile properties of fresh meat, particularly in retail displays, where light exposure and fluctuating temperatures more...

Choosing the best phosphate for your product

There are numerous types and blends of phosphates, many of which are made specifically for various types of products. By choosing the appropriate phosphate more...

Ingredient additives that preserve fresh meat color

Because fresh meat color is relatively short-lived but is absolutely critical to retail sales, there has been a great deal of interest in ways to stabilize more...

October 2009

Obtaining better yields and texture with carrageenan in processed meats

Carrageenan is a polysaccharide extracted from seaweed that forms a thermo-reversible gel. There are three main types of carrageenan — iota, Lambda more...

Sustainable packaging: Is it right for your product?

Pressure from consumers and environmental advocacy groups has increased interest in "sustainable" meat production practices. One of the important more...

Evaluating the economics of manual vs. mechanical deboning

For many years, the high cost of mechanical deboning and its relatively low yield made it unattractive as a replacement for manual deboning. In spite more...

Mastering rapid microbial testing

Much has been written about rapid microbial testing, but what is "rapid" testing anyway? The most common application of rapid microbial testing for food more...

September 2009

Advantages of pre-sliced deli meat

It's easy to forget that retailers can play a critical role in ensuring the wholesomeness and safety of meat, particularly meat subject to handling by more...

Maintaining electrical stunning systems to ensure humane slaughter

Electrical stunning systems are under frequent attack from animal rights groups. They make statements concerning the number of birds that miss the stunner more...

August 2009

Optimal tenderizer maintenance

Although they initially were developed for curing, meat injectors are now used to tenderize a variety of fresh meats, including various cuts of beef, more...

Tapping robotics for further processing in poultry plants

Robots go well beyond automation. Automation simply performs specific tasks. Thigh deboners, cut-up equipment and skinners are classic examples of automated more...

Keeping knives sharp to increase yields

Knives are to blame for about 60 percent of the injuries operators suffer in a meat processing operation, mainly due to repetitive strain injury, unsharpened more...

Optimal conveyor design for poultry plants

Poultry plants are a web of conveyors. The overhead conveyors used in slaughter plants to move birds from the shackling area to cut-up and packaging have more...

An in-depth look at E. coli interventions

To effectively control E. coli — the pathogenic type, such as E. coli 0157:H7, not the harmless bacteria found in the intestines of all mammals more...

July 2009

Ensuring consistent burner performance on continuous cookers

High-efficiency gas fryers can be a costly proposition — and in more ways than one — if burners don't undergo periodic maintenance. A poorly more...

Keeping conveyors pathogen-free

There is probably no processing component more prone to contamination than the conveyor. Some products undergo slicing, others grinding and forming, but more...

Proper maintenance of refrigeration systems

A complete understanding of how your refrigeration system works is the most valuable factor in refrigeration maintenance. Ignorance can change a minor more...

June 2009

Operating and maintaining massaging and tumbling systems

Massagers and tumblers enhance the binding and water-holding capacity for a variety of raw, whole-muscle meats, including beef and pork. A primary objective more...

Controlling quality factors during hot dog stuffing

Stuffing can have an impact on the appearance of hot dogs. However, a few process variables before and during stuffing can be controlled to ensure a high-quality more...

Selection and maintenance of picking fingers

Complete feather removal without carcass damage is the goal of every poultry processing plant. This goal, however, is seldom achieved even for short periods more...

New packaging options for marinated meat and poultry

Marinating meat and poultry is usually associated with improving taste and tenderness as well as adding flavor; however, many marinades also add color more...

Three key factors to increase marinade retention

Marination is a process used to enhance the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of meat pieces through application of a seasoned mixture of water, acids more...

May 2009

Applying new technologies to decontaminate beef carcasses

Most beef processors use multiple interventions, referred to as "hurdle technology," to reduce bacterial pathogen levels on the surface of beef carcasses more...

April 2009

Smokehouses: Maintenance tips to keep air flowing

Smokehouses are relatively simple systems, yet they perform complex processes that incorporate heat, steam, water, humidity and, of course, smoke to produce more...

Mastering seven key variables that impact smokehouse yield and output

With smoked meats, conditions as variable as heat, humidity and airflow must be precisely calibrated to produce uniform product. Poor uniformity not only more...

March 2009

Selecting optimal packaging for further processed product

Nowadays, consumers are asking not only for safer meat products, but also for quality and convenience. Packaging plays a huge role in delivering all of more...

Maintenance and operation of gas stunners

Controlled Atmosphere stunning (CAS) or gas stunning is still very new to the U.S. poultry industry with few plants utilizing this technology. For that more...

February 2009

Maximizing temperature control to curb pathogens in further processed poultry

There is very little that can be done to minimize bacterial contamination and growth once carcasses leave the chiller. It is therefore absolutely necessary more...

Tapping natural ingredients to create clean-label cured meats

Although artificial preservatives impart many of the properties associated with cured meats, a growing number of consumers are seeking products with cleaner more...

Selecting "green" packaging for further-processed poultry

If you're looking to switch up your packaging – maybe you need new machinery, want to use new materials or are just looking to make a change, going eco-friendly more...

January 2009

Using video technology in the plant

Beyond the jerky, black-and-gray screens of security cameras, today's video technology equips processors with tools to optimize productivity and profitability more...

Maximizing raw material value with vision grading

The ability to sort raw material into common lots based on physical characteristics can provide greater opportunities for marketing or increased production more...

Next-generation packaging for bacon

Fat puts the sizzle in fried bacon, but it also can smear and smudge product packaging, potentially contaminating the seal area. Fact is, bacon has always more...

December 2008

Formulating deep marinades for fresh beef

The use of deep marinades, referred to as enhancement or pumping, aims to improve the tenderness and juiciness of fresh beef. Deep-marinated fresh beef more...

Using antioxidants to enhance the color of fresh meat

Meat color may vary from the deep purplish-red of freshly cut beef to the light gray of faded cured pork, but it is the deep cherry-red color of oxymyoglobin more...

Trans fat-free formulations for refrigerated and frozen foods

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration started requiring manufacturers to list trans fat content on the nutritional facts panel of foods. A review more...

Frying: Tips to extend the life of your cooking oil

Deep frying is one of the most complex practices in food processing. During frying, oil changes depending upon the food that is being fried and the duration more...

November 2008

Poultry yield and quality control: A first-processing checklist

As pressure on poultry plants to improve microbiological controls increases, it becomes all-too easy to neglect items that affect yield and overall quality more...

Precision cutting for maximum breast yields

The list of boned white meat poultry products seems endless and is constantly increasing. Yet, most of the meat must be separated from the bone using more...

October 2008

Formulating deep marinades for fresh pork

Deep marinating, also known as "enhancement" or "pumping," is commonly used to improve the eating quality of many fresh pork cuts. Enhancement has been more...

The X-ray files: What to ask when evaluating imaging technology

Although X-ray imaging is designed to ferret out contaminants in meat and other food products, the first question many plant operators ask is whether more...

September 2008

MAP alternatives for RTE meats

Much of the discussion of modified atmosphere packaging options have centered on gas mixtures that best bring out the red in fresh meat while deterring more...

Using ozone as an antimicrobial

Ozone was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001 as a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) substance to be used as a sanitizer for more...

August 2008

Advantages and disadvantages of rapid testing for listeria

Listeria monocytogenes (LM) is the No. 1 cause of bacteria-related food recalls in the United States, according to USDA. There is a growing need for rapid more...

Enhancing deboned poultry tenderness with electrical stimulation

Characteristics such as color or visible defects drive consumers to choose a particular brand of chicken. However, once the product has been purchased more...

Formulating gluten-free emulsions

Gluten is a protein found in some grains and grain products, especially wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is a good source of protein, and may be used as more...

Immersion vs. air: Picking the best chilling solution for your poultry plant

To minimize the potential for bacterial growth on processed poultry carcasses, it is necessary to reduce their temperature from the 100F (38C) of live more...

July 2008

Tips to optimize your grinding operation

Particle reduction is the basic technology for producing many meat products. During the process of grinding meat, many factors affect quality and must more...

How, when and why to recycle chiller water

Recycling chiller water has been considered difficult due to existing regulations, equipment deficiencies and the lack of acceptable microbiocides. But more...

June 2008

Tips for dicing raw and cooked meat products

An increasing number of grab-n-go soups, salads, pizzas and the like is prompting greater demand for all manner and size of diced meat product. For reasons more...

MAP gas mixtures that extend shelf life

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has become a common means of improving the shelf life of fresh and processed meat products, but MAP is not a new packaging more...

Optimizing your water reuse potential in first processing

Drought conditions and the cost of wastewater treatment are two of the reasons for reusing as much water as possible. USDA regulations do, however, govern more...

New technologies for pre-scald pathogen control

The quest for a mechanism to remove Salmonella contamination from poultry in the processing plant has continued for more than 30 years. However, the recent more...

May 2008

Maximizing yield — live poultry through evisceration

Many plants fail to adequately track yield, which can lead to a high percentage of yield that is labeled "unaccounted for." Since many factors affect more...

Assessing immersion vs. steam scalding in poultry processing

Scalding is an essential step in poultry processing as it facilitates feather removal. In most of today's plants, birds are scalded by hot-water immersion more...

Evaluating oven and fryer validation and control software

Uniformity, consistency and safety are all hallmarks of properly cooked meat product. Because production volumes have increased exponentially in recent more...

April 2008

Using textured soy protein as a meat extender

In the last few years, the demand for meat extenders and meat analogs has been on the rise. Textured soy protein (TSP) has traditionally been used as more...

Tips to avoid giveaway during slicing

Problems with giveaway among sliced whole-muscle meat cuts often prompt operators to focus on problems with the slicing equipment, including dull blades more...

Proper cooling — hitting target temperatures to inhibit microbial growth in cooked poultry products

A recent survey conducted by Meatingplace.com indicated that most people understand the internal temperature required to make poultry safe to eat. While more...

March 2008

Ham production basics

During ham processing, muscle pieces must be tightly bound to develop a protein matrix that could eventually be sliced and handled without breakage. It more...

Maximizing poultry tenderness with marination

Marination is commonly utilized in the poultry industry to ensure that meat is both tender and juicy. The three main ingredients in marinades are water more...

February 2008

Formulating tips for improving the shape and texture of burgers and meatballs

Forming fresh, ground meat products with acceptable texture can be difficult, because ingredients, processing and handling all affect how formed meat more...

Rapid cooling methods for preserving taste, texture and color

Cooling processes help ensure meat product safety; increase shelf life; retain desirable color, flavor and tenderness; and, in some cases, meet regulatory more...

Automated hog slaughter: Rotary blades vs. cleavers

Pork processors face a constantly growing need to improve efficiency in the face of labor problems and higher costs of processing inputs. Increasing automation more...

January 2008

Boosting quality with statistical process controls

Whether to monitor product quality, food safety or yields, many process control programs emphasize detection of problems in the end-product rather than more...

Clean-in-place: An alternative approach to smokehouse maintenance

Automated clean-in-place systems are part and parcel of many a dairy and beverage operation, but they have seen relatively little use in meat plants, more...

December 2007

Forming poultry: To slice or to press?

Further processed poultry products include batter breaded patties, nuggets, luncheon meats, turkey ham, turkey bacon, frankfurters, bologna, etc. These more...

Achieving optimal results from tumbling and massaging

Tumbling and massaging are important processes in the creation of meat and poultry products, though different products may require one or the other, or more...

Basics of tempering, thawing meat

The use of frozen, raw meat for further processing requires proper tempering and thawing to prevent purge or quality loss. Additionally, improper thawing more...

Reducing yield loss with cryogenic freezing

The science of cryogenics has led to the use of very low temperatures in many production processes. It has even been used to freeze humans such as baseball more...

Injector maintenance: Needle rotation and cleaning

Injected or enhanced meat products are highly profitable and often prized by consumers, but failure to maintain injector needles can lead to both food-safety more...

November 2007

Injector operation and maintenance

In today's poultry processing plant, marinating or brining equipment is nearly as common as a chiller. Injection systems have become more and more common more...

October 2007

Automation options for small-scale poultry processing

The number of small poultry processors in the United States is increasing along with the capacity of these operations. No longer are they only single more...

The ABCs of poultry plant sanitation

Good sanitation and temperature controls are our main tools for winning the race against bacteria. Research has shown that low bacteria numbers can increase more...

September 2007

Selecting barrier packaging for poultry

Poultry is commonly packaged in plastic (polymer) trays over-wrapped with a film and bags in retail channels. Since the film can be made from a variety more...

Good form: Achieving consistent shape in sausages

Turning out identical sausages time after time is the key to profitability in what is often a low-margin business with little room for error. Unfortunately more...

Working with coated casings

Sausage casings coated on the inside with alginates and the like are meant to improve peelability and, generally speaking, they do. However, they aren't more...

Precision techniques for poultry deboning

There's no doubt that convenience is king in the United States, and Americans are more apt than ever to choose boneless poultry products. While deboned more...

August 2007

Preventing buildup of nervous tissues on saw blades

Owing to concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service requires that saw blades used to split or cut through more...

Avoiding uneven carcass splits

Yields and speed are essential to ensuring the profitability of any slaughter operation; consequently, loss in yield or slowing of fabrication to account more...

Assessing wet vs. dry beef aging

As most processors know, aging is a standard method for tenderizing meat, and works best when employed over periods of 10 to 21 days. There is, of course more...

Using natural antimicrobial ingredients in poultry processing

Increased shelf life in fresh poultry products allows processors, distributors and retailers more flexibility and better profits. To prolong shelf life more...

July 2007

Forming tips to guarantee better beef patties

Pressing ground beef into a mold to form a patty may sound like an easy task, but many hamburger manufacturers face challenges with this process. Major more...

Optimizing moisture control in the chiller

Historically, the amount of water that a bird could pick up in the carcass chiller was regulated according to the final product. More recently, however more...

Using clean-in-place equipment for poultry processing

Long used by beverage and dairy processors, clean-in-place (CIP) sanitation systems have made less significant headway into poultry processing. By circulating more...

June 2007

Reverse temperature cooking for better roast beef

Commercial production of tender, juicy and flavorful cooked roast beef can be a tough proposition, one of the tricks being to brown product without drying more...

Conserve it or lose it: managing water in the plant

Maintaining a supply of fresh water is becoming a problem in some areas of the United States while wastewater disposal is a problem for virtually every more...

Tips to improve slice quality in hams

As with other meats, slice quality is an important characteristic of ham. Individual muscle pieces must be closely bound, and must develop a protein matrix more...

May 2007

The ABCs of poultry picking

No two poultry plants operate exactly the same, and that is as true in the picking room as in any other part of the facility. While plants may be different more...

IFFA post-show report: You, robot

The humans outnumbered the robots at IFFA 2007 in Frankfurt, Germany, earlier this month, but just barely. European processors and suppliers have long more...

Basic grinder maintenance for poultry processors

Upstream, downline or inline, grinders come in many shapes and configurations. No matter their incarnation, grinders all have a common problem — more...

How to avoid bruising during electrical poultry stunning

Throughout the poultry processing cycle, each operation hides a handful of threats to final product quality. If not properly and, mostly, preventively more...

April 2007

Extending shelf life of meat products with active packaging

Changes in the processing, distribution and storage of meat products reflect increasing consumer demand for improved quality and extended shelf life. more...

Lucky 13: Your guide to IFFA's top exhibits

IFFA showcases innovative technology from around the globe, so it's hardly surprising that the show bills itself as "the world's leading trade fair for more...

Producing high-quality steam for further processed poultry

Whether using steam for shrink-wrap, as an antimicrobial treatment or as a method of cooking, the quality of the steam is important. Steam quality is more...

Low-sodium, low-fat formulations for frankfurters

Americans these days are seeking healthier and more convenient foods, and theoretically, a low-fat, low-salt hot dog should be an instant winner. Although more...

Precision stuffing for franks

Although the frankfurter market is dominated by large national brands, most of the growth in the category comes from higher-end regional products, often more...

March 2007

Five critical steps for equipment cleaning and sanitation

Cleaning and sanitizing equipment and surfaces in direct contact with food product is critical, and the development and deployment of standard operational more...

Blown gaskets and other reasons why your package won't seal

Just one recall of poorly sealed meat can all but seal the deal for processors, triggering hundreds and thousands of dollars of losses, to say nothing more...

Ensuring your meat stays afloat in chilis and soups

Ideally, large pieces of meat are dispersed evenly in soups and chilis. But to figure out how to keep meat afloat, we first need to understand the concepts more...

February 2007

CO2 freezing systems: Safety and maintenance basics

Mechanical and cryogenic freezing systems depend upon gases to chill. These gases present specific hazards and thus require special attention from maintenance more...

10 IPE show-stoppers

While there were acres of offerings at the 2007 International Poultry Expo in Atlanta, a few stood apart from the crowd. Check out these product picks more...

Using phosphates to maximize poultry yield

Maximizing yield is critical to every poultry processor. Marination or the additions of seasoned moisture to fresh poultry has become a common practice more...

Maintenance schedules for form, fill and seal equipment

Automated equipment that can form, fill and seal packages in a continuous manner is a marvel of modern engineering and efficiency. However, these complex more...

January 2007

Cutting poultry operational costs with electrical stimulation

Chicken breast is a top-ranking raw material among the many meats available. Thanks to its low fat content, it is largely preferred over dark meat in more...

Reducing bacteria counts in poultry with organic acids

Birds naturally carry bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. Because these bacteria are pathogenic, they are of great concern to poultry more...

IPE preview: 10 must-see products at this year's show

This year's IPE will be bigger than ever, and let's face it: It might be a bit overwhelming. There are thousands of products and people on the show floor more...

Working with liquid smoke

Liquid smoke is a convenient and effective method of adding flavor to cooked meats, and in some cases may provide significant advantages over natural more...

December 2006

Information overload: QA data collection that cuts to the chase

A comprehensive quality-assurance program can quickly grow into a record-keeping and data-management nightmare, and still not provide the information more...

November 2006

Injectors: Three sure ways to contaminate pork loins

Injecting pork loins is a proven way to improve tenderness and juiciness. However, care must be taken to ensure the injection process doesn't result in more...

Worth the weight: Steak-slicing techniques that optimize yield

With the weights of beef cattle having swelled to as high as 1,400 lbs., it shouldn't come as a surprise that the prime areas of the animal, including more...

October 2006

How to speed up rapid-response pathogen testing

During the past 10 years, the speed at which pathogens can be detected in meat has improved substantially, with newer methods delivering consistently more...

The cling factor: Rub formulations that are sure to stick

Although rubs are available as liquids or powders, ensuring they adhere to meat is as tricky with one as the other. Made up of herbs and spices, dry rubs more...

September 2006

It's a wrap: How to tell whether in-line shrink packaging is for you

By now, the virtues of in-line shrink packaging technology are fairly well established. The labor savings can be considerable, in view of the fact that more...

Three ways to avoid standing water

Pools of standing water are a common sight in processing plants, and controlling them can be a constant battle. But battle processors must, since standing more...

AMI Showcase preview: 10 exhibits you can't miss

The American Meat Institute's annual Innovation Showcase & Convention takes Hollywood, Fla., by storm this year, with more than 75 exhibitors showcasing more...

Holy smokes! Hot spots that gum up your smokers

By their very nature, smokehouses are dirty and sooty and — owing to their numerous motors, hydraulics, dampers and electronics — eventually more...

August 2006

Some disassembly required: Tips for cleaning your bacon slicer

Bacon is a unique product. It's typically heat-treated, but not fully cooked, a condition potentially conducive to the survival of pathogens. The good more...

June 2006

The missing linker: Tips for producing uniform clipped products

Matching the right stuffer, the right clip, the right linker, the right casing and the right hanging technique is vital to producing a consistently uniform more...

IFT Show preview: 10 must-see ingredients and technologies

Look for health and wellness to dominate the Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Orlando, Fla., on June 24 - 28. Sure, savory more...

April 2006

Good Form: Three tips to extend your former's operating life

All meat formers, including ground or whole muscle applications, require careful maintenance and inspection to maximize production efficiency and extend more...

March 2006

RFID: Tips for collecting—and maintaining— accurate data

Radio frequency identification has been slow to reach the meat industry. But make no mistake--it is coming, in part because the government, retailers more...

February 2006

Listeria alert! Maintenance tips keep your slicer’s blade pathogen-free

Controlling Listeria monocytogenes is obviously an important sanitation issue, especially for processors of sliced deli meats. The U.S. Department of more...

IPE Review: 10 stars of the 2006 show

The 2006 International Poultry Expo marked the 58th annual installment of the event, and as usual, the show offered hundreds of exhibits for the thousands more...

Calibrating carbon monoxide content in modified atmosphere packaging

While the Food and Drug Administration has granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for the use of carbon monoxide in MAP packaging of case-ready more...

January 2006

Bar codes and labelers: Seven rules to stick by

Believe it or not, doing too good a job on sanitation can actually lead to labeling and bar code problems in meat processing environments. Why? Processors more...

IPE Preview: 10 must-see technologies at this year's show

Let's face it: Finding what you're looking for at the annual International Poultry Expo, billed as the largest poultry show in the world, can be absolutely more...

Tales from the boneyard -- Common problems that can kill your cooker

What's one of the first signs that your oven's air-handling system is malfunctioning? Color. A fresh air intake that isn't opening won't allow for adequate more...

November 2005

Curbing contamination with a hide-on carcass wash

Hide removal is the single most critical slaughter-line activity in the beef industry's ongoing war on microbe and pathogen contamination. Research by more...

Seven maintenance hot spots for poultry plants

When it comes to preventive maintenance, attention to detail is often what it takes to achieve successful plant performance on a larger scale. With that more...