End of Project ReportMeat colour is an important criterion in the appeal of meat to consumers at the point of sale. The bright red colour of fresh beef and lamb and the pinkish colour of fresh pork are due to the oxygenation of the myoglobin pigment when the meat is exposed to air. However, exposure to air over several days causes irreversible browning and rejection of the meat by consumers. The gaseous environment in which retail cuts are stored is therefore critical to ensure a good colour over the display life. Existing packaging systems do not have a sufficiently long storage life for the additional time required for exports from Ireland to the UK or continental Europe. The objective of this project was to develop a bulk packaging system for retail cuts that would have a sufficient shelf life to be used by the Irish industry to export retail ready cuts. In conclusion, a packaging system has been developed on a laboratory scale which is capable of extending the storage life of some beef cuts, lamb loin chops and pork loin chops. The display life of these after storage is comparable to fresh cuts. In order for this system to be commercialised it would have to be shown to work on a larger scale in a production environment
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