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Effect of erythorbate, storage and high-oxygen packaging on premature browning in ground beef

Suman, S.P., Faustman, C., Lee, S., Tang, J., Sepe, H.A., Vasudevan, P., Annamalai, T., Manojkumar, M., Marek, P., Venkitanarayanan, K.S.
Meat science 2005 v.69 no.2 pp. 363-369
ground beef, hamburgers, food additives, food packaging, packaging materials, plastic film, modified atmosphere packaging, oxygen, nitrogen, food storage, storage temperature, storage time, discoloration, oxidation, cooking, cooking quality, aerobic conditions, frozen meat, raw meat, redox reactions, beef quality, color, reducing agents
Premature browning (PMB) was investigated in ground beef patties with (0.04%, w/w) and without erythorbate. In Experiment 1, patties were stored at 4 degrees C for 48 h; at -18 degrees C for 21 days; or at -18 degrees C for 21 days, thawed at 4 degrees C for 24 h; and cooked. Bulk ground beef was stored at -18 degrees C for 24 days, thawed for 24 h at 4 degrees C, and patties prepared and cooked immediately. In Experiment 2, fresh patties were overwrapped with oxygen-permeable film or packaged in 80% O2/20% N2 (MAP), and stored for 48 h at 4 degrees C, or at -18 degrees C for 21 days, and cooked. Total reducing activity and color (L*, a* and b* values) were measured immediately prior to cooking. Patties were cooked to internal temperatures of 60, 66, 71 and 77 degrees C and internal cooked color was measured. Total reducing activity was higher for the erythorbate treatment than controls for all storage conditions (P < 0.05). a* Values of cooked patties were higher for erythorbate than control treatments under all storage and packaging conditions at 60 and 66 degrees C (P < 0.05). The presence of erythorbate in ground beef patties appeared to maintain red color at cooked internal temperatures of 60 and 66 degrees C. Frozen bulk storage appeared to increase the susceptibility of ground beef to PMB when compared to fresh and frozen patties. Patties cooked directly from frozen state appeared less susceptible to PMB than frozen-thawed and bulk storage. Ground beef appeared predisposed to PMB when stored in high-oxygen MAP at 4 degrees C for 48 h.