There are 2 objectives, relating to the structure & biochemical properties of the muscles & cooked meat to optimize efficiency, safety & quality. The first objective is to optimize textural & functional properties,with emphasis on breast muscles, by tailoring the processing sequence to the particular muscle based on fiber type. The second objective is to identify biomarkers that will be used to estimate the heat treatment applied to ensure destruction of pathogenic organisms.
The first approach will be to optimize a patented clamping device so that large breast muscles (white fibers) can be removed from carcasses prior to chilling. This device has the potential to change processing by eliminating carcass chilling and post-chill aging prior to breast muscle removal. Schemes for processing the small breast muscles will also be optimized. For hindquarter muscles,the effects of rigor and addition of non-meat ingredients on color, binding properties and texture will be determined. Effects of pulsed electric current applied during bleeding on ATP depletion and voiding of the lower GI tract will be optimized to reduce fecal contamination during evisceration. The second approach will be to identify biomarkers to accurately determine end-point temperature (EPT) for intact pieces and fabricated products made with meat and non- meat ingredients. Analytics (GC/MS, capillary electrophoresis) will be refined so that selected indices will be provided to develop methods for use by regulatory and industry personnel.