Raw Steaks

Raw Red Meat

MAP: A proven way to effectively extend the shelf life of your meat products

Food items: Beef, Goat, Hare, Horse, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Venison, Wild Boar, other items

Recommended gas mixtures
70-80% O₂
20-30% CO₂

The gases and mixtures listed above are for general guidance. To identify the optimum gas for your product and process, we recommend you undertake a product trial with the help of an Air Products MAP gas specialist.

Storage temperature
• Legal maximum*: 8° C
• Recommended: -1° C to + 2° C
Achievable shelf-life
• In air: 2-4 days
• In MAP: 5-8 days
Principle spoilage organisms and mechanics
Pseudomonas species (in air), Brochothrix species, Lactic acid bacteria, Micrococci, Enterobacteriaceae, yeasts and moulds.
Food poisoning hazards include
Clostridium species, Salmonella species, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus species, Listeria monocytogenes, E.coli and E.coli 0157. Yersinia enterocolitica can be important for pork.
Typical MAP machines
• TFFS – Thermoform-fill-seal
• PTLF – Preformed tray and lidding film
Typical types of package
Retail: Tray and lidding film
Examples of typical MAP materials
Tray:
• PVC/PE
• APET/PE
• EPS/EVOH/PE

Lidding:
• PET/PVDC/PE
• PET/PE-EVOH-PE
• OPA/PE-EVOH-PE
• OPP/PE-EVOH-PE

The two principal spoilage mechanisms affecting the shelf-life of raw red meats are microbial growth and oxidation of the red oxymyoglobin pigment.

When red meat is kept under proper chilled conditions, the controlling influence on the shelf-life of the product is the rate of oxidation of the red oxymyoglobin pigment to its brown oxidised form, metmyoglobin. For this reason, high concentrations of O₂ are necessary for the MAP of red meats in order to maintain the desirable bright red colour for a longer period. Highly pigmented red meats, such as venison and wild boar, require higher concentrations of O₂.

Aerobic spoilage bacteria, such as Pseudomonas species, which are normally predominant on red meats are inhibited by CO₂. Consequently, to create the dual effect of red colour stability and microbial inhibition, gas mixtures containing 20-30% CO₂ and 70-80% O₂ are recommended for extending the chilled shelf-life of red meats from 2-4 days to 5-8 days and even longer. A gas/product ratio of 2:1 is often recommended. The maintenance of recommended chilled temperatures and good hygiene and handling throughout the butchery, MAP, distribution and retailing chain is also of vital importance in ensuring the safety and extended shelf-life of red meat products.

Red meats provide an ideal medium for the growth of a wide range of spoilage and food poisoning micro-organisms. It should be noted that raw red meats are subsequently cooked before consumption and thorough heating is sufficient to kill the vegetative cells of food poisoning bacteria. Consequently, the risk of food poisoning is greatly minimised by proper cooking.

*The Food Safety (Temperature Control) regulations 1995 states that the maximum Storage temperature for chilled perishable foods is 8°C. There will be flexibility to vary this when scientifically justified. For legal temperature storage requirements, please contact the Campden BRI.