The application in the meat industry is enormous. Costs are reduced dramatically and quality is improved significantly. In our experience, no single another technology offers this level of positive impact both for the producer and the consumer.
In terms of whole muscle meat, the application is to reshape it into a regular structure.
It is very important to understand that reshaping does not only involve MTG, but critically, also a ridged structure to create the shape and freezing. The shapes are created in this system through the use of specially designed lightweight grid baskets by an engineering company based in Cape Town, Draven. Design considerations were ease of handling, efficiency and cost.
The five areas where processors report the most pronounced benefits from the total system are:
1. Slicing yields
At our own plant slicing yields with the use of this system is between 90% and 95%. It has been reported in private communication from other production managers, that they regularly achieve slicing yields of 98% by a consistent application of this overall system.
2. Production yields
A reduction of losses during thermal processing. When we do not use this system, losses during smoking is between 8% and 12%, depending on the meat quality, the cut, the initial injection rate and tumbling time. When the system is used, with all other factors remaining the same, moisture loss during smoking is reduced to between 2.5% and 5%.
3. Improved product quality
Product quality improves materially in terms of juiciness, overall texture and colour development. Catering and food services clients add the benefit of consistent product portioning.
These changes are attributed to a variety of factors in combination. Pressure is added to the meat when they are places in the grids baskets. The effect of such pressure is the current subject of several studies and seems to be playing a bigger role than originally thought.
A second reason is the effect of MTG. A third reason is that a specially coated, smoke-permeable paper is wrapped around the meat cut before it is placed inside the grid basket. This retards the unnecessary loss of moisture, especially at the meat surface during thermal processing and it distributes the heat better.
The orientation of the meat during thermal processing plays a huge roll. Traditionally such cuts are hung on smoker trolleys which favour the release of moisture due to the pressure matrix that develops inside the muscles. Laying the meat down in a trolly materially alters this pressure matrix and substantially reduce unnecessary moisture loss which impacts both production cost and product quality.
What is the exact contribution of each of these factors in isolation? How can ham technology be incorporated into bacon production?
4. New products
For the producer, Transglutaminase further allows for the utilisation meat offcuts and by-products, such as collagen, blood proteins and mechanically deboned meat, in manufacturing meat products with a higher nutritive value by supplementing it with amino acids in which it is deficient (e.g. exogenous lysine). (Kieliszek, M and Misiewicz, A.; 2013) Ultimately the consumer wins through the lower price point of these products. Generally, opportunities exist in the production of fine and coarse-minced sausages, Vienna sausages and smoked meat. Instead of high-quality meat, lower quality raw materials and additives, such as skimmed milk powder, soy or wheat flour, can now be used to manufacture products. (Kieliszek, M and Misiewicz, A.; 2013)
5. R&D component
In the work that we do here, a very strong R&D component comes with the Draven Grid system, the Transglutaminase and how the entire process is put together. Finding new and innovative ways of exploiting any new system is of tremendous benefit. Networking makes this task easy and this brings to the fore the power of this forum. I report on these “war stories” in Applications and Clever Ideas
Part 2 of this booklet deals in great detail with the production system.
The features and benefits of the system are in our view unparalleled in terms of recent developments in food science.
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