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Natural extract could boost meat shelf life

By Lorraine Heller , 24-Oct-2007

A new natural extract claims to allow meat producers to extend the shelf life of their products by keeping these looking and tasting fresh for longer, according to manufacturer Kemin Food Ingredients.

The new ingredient, Fortium R10 Plus, combines rosemary extract and green tea extract into a dry blend that allows for a label-friendly, 'natural' way to maintain freshness, said the firm.

 

 

 

Launched today at the Worldwide Food Expo in Chicago, the new ingredient contains natural antioxidants that preserve product freshness for longer by preventing the oxidation of components within the meat.

 

 

 

Kemin's marketing and operations manager Jeff Sporrer stressed that the antioxidant properties of the extracts are strictly linked only to shelf life preservation, and not to any human health benefits.

 

 

 

In addition, he stressed that the new ingredients has no impact on the microbial spoilage of products, but simply allows manufacturers to maintain a fresh look and taste to their products for as long as they are safe to eat.

 

 

 

"Meat products typically spoil due to one of two major causes: microbial growth or chemical deterioration. The most common form of chemical deterioration is oxidative rancidity," he said.

 

 

 

"Oxidative rancidity in meat can vary greatly, ranging from extensive flavor changes, color losses and structural damage to proteins to a more subtle 'loss of freshness' that discourages repeat purchases by consumers."

 

 

"The latter is probably the most important to food processors because it is not obvious, yet results in consumer dissatisfaction. Several processed meat products are particularly susceptible to oxidative rancidity because of exposure to oxygen and/or elevated temperatures during processing. Meat sources with a high proportion of unsaturated fats, such as pork and poultry are particularly susceptible. Processed meats utilize antioxidants to control oxidative changes," he told FoodNavigator-USA.com.

 

 

 

According to the firm's testing, the color of refrigerated pork sausages treated with Fortium R10 Plus after ten days was similar to the color of untreated sausages on day four.

 

 

 

Taste tests also revealed a significantly less rancid taste in the treated products, he said.

 

 

 

The ingredient could have potential for use in other products, such as oils or sauces, although Sporrer said the firm had not yet conducted any testing with other products. However, due to the firm's extensive experience with rosemary extracts, he said he was confident the ingredient would work well in a number of other applications, and said the company's technical team would work with customers to develop custom formulations as needed.

 

 

 

The ingredient's current form is a fairly dilute dry product, as this works best in meat products. Kemin is also working on developing different concentrations and liquid versions.

 

 

 

Kemin said Fortium R10 Plus can be labeled as a natural flavor.

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