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Purac builds science for salt replacer in meats

By Stephen Daniells , 04-Feb-2009

A potassium lactate and sodium diacetate mix may reduce the sodium chloride content by 40 per cent, and significantly increase shelf-life, says a new study from Purac.

Using the company’s Purasal Opti.Form PD 4 formulation, containing potassium lactate and sodium diacetate, researchers from Purac Biochem, collaborating with scientists at Ghent University, report that shelf-life could be prolonged by about 40 days, according to results published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology.

Pieter-Paul Lamers, co-author of the study and market unit director for Purac Biochem in the Netherlands, told FoodNavigator.com that while the concept of sodium chloride replacement with the lactate mixture is not new, the recent salt reduction initiatives launched, most notably by the UK’s FSA, has made this more topical.

“The industry has been looking at sodium replacement for food but it was more focussed on compensation of flavour when sodium chloride is removed. A more important issue is the relationship between sodium chloride and the safety of the food,” he explained.

“This study makes a clear link between the safety of a food product and Purasal,” added Lamers.

Salt is of course a vital nutrient and is necessary for the body to function, but campaigners for salt reduction, like the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) consider the average daily salt consumption in the western world, between 10 and 12 grams, far too high.

Numerous scientists are convinced that high salt intake is responsible for increasing blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) - a condition that causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe.

The pressure has been mounting on food manufacturers to reduce the salt content of their foods and the UK's Food Standards Agency's (FSA) recommendation of six grams of salt per day for the general population is understood to be more a realistic target for the next five years than the ideal healthy limit.

Despite the obvious impact on taste, salt performs a wide variety of other functions. In processed meat products, for example, salt is involved in activating proteins to increase water-binding activity, improves the binding and textural properties of proteins, helps with the formation of stable batters with fat, and also extends shelf-life with its anti-microbacterial effects.

Study details

The Purac study formulated six cooked meat products with differing levels of sodium chloride and the Purasal ingredient, including a normal salt product, salt reduction by 20 and 40 per cent with 2 or 3 per cent Purasal, or 40 per cent salt reduction and no added Purasal.

The meats were subsequently exposed to two Lactobacillus sakei strains and a Leuconostoc mesenteroides strain, all of which are linked to meat spoilage.

In both the cases, 20 per cent or 40 per cent reduced salt content, adding 3 per cent Purasal Opti.Form PD 4 is more effective than adding 2 per cent Purasal Opti.Form PD 4,” wrote the researchers, led by Frank Devlieghere from Ghent University's Department of Food Safety and Food Quality.

The shelf-lives of the meats were increased by 40 days when 3 per cent Purasal was used, while shelf-life increased by about seven days when 2 per cent was used. For the meat formulated to contain 40 per cent less salt, but with no other added ingredients, the shelf-life was decreased by about four days, said the researchers.

“In addition, the processed meat products with the reduced salt containing Purasal Opti.Form PD 4 were acceptable from a sensory point of view,” added Devlieghere and his co-workers.

Source: International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2009, Volume 44, Pages 337-341"Reducing salt intake from meat products by combined use of lactate and diacetate salts without affecting microbial stability"Authors: F. Devlieghere, L. Vermeiren, E. Bontenbal, P.-P. Lamers, J. Debevere

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