La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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Vacuum-packed meats: are the microbiological indicators reliable

Over the years, the bovine meat sector has seen atypical types of preservation means amongst vacuum-packed products (muscles and meat). Indeed, there has been an over-develoment of enterobacteria, an insufficient development of the bio-protective lactic flora, and even both problems without the meat and muscles showing any sensorial alterations. In order to understand this phenomenon and to help the sector avoid it, the French Livestock Institute in partnership with the Caen Normandy University, has led a study on the identification of microbial flora identified during the analysis of ready-to-cut muscle contamination and pieces of precut vacuum-packed meats after ageing under controlled conditions. The results obtained showed that in cases of atypical preservation, with reference methods, when the compliance threshold of the “enterobacteria” criteria is exceeded, it is the over-develoment of enterobacteria and notably the Hafnia alvei species that is responsible. However, the apparent under-development of lactic flora was caused by the exclusion of lactic bacteria of the genus Carnobacterium sp. and Lactococcus sp., causing an under-estimation of the real amounts of lactic flora present. This study has therefore provided evidence that a whole part of meats and muscles conditioned and preserved with vacuum-packed packaging is excluded from the marketing channels due to an error in the reference method that quantifies the lactic bacteria, therefore inducing an under-estimation of this compliance criterion for meat products. In order to remedy this problem, the French Breeding Institute and Interbev are working to develop alternative methods for the more precise evaluation of lactic bacteria present on the surface of meats.


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