Packaging of Meat Products
Meat needs to be packaged to prevent contamination, color deterioration, loss of moisture, odor pickup, oxidative rancidity etc and protect from environmental factors that affect quality and nutrition. It also helps in easier transport, display of necessary information and to convince consumers. Material used must be inert and prevent transfer of odours and flavours. Plastics of interest to meat industry are polyethylene, polyester, nylon, polyamide and polyvinylchloride. For special packaging, different plastic films can be combined to take advantage of the main properties of each. A large variety of packaging materials and techniques are followed in packaging meat and meat products. The selection of a particular material may be based upon cost, storage life requirements, the desired tempera ture of storage or the specific prod uct requirements or characteristics.
Developments in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum packaging brought enhancement in meat product safety, shelf life and quality. Researches are undergoing to evaluate the effectiveness of active packaging techniques such as use of oxygen and other scavengers, moisture regulation and antimicrobial packaging in food preservation, use of intelligent systems such as time-temperature and freshness indicators to assess meat quality.