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Influence of oxygen scavenger technology on retail stability of fresh beef in tri-gas master bag packaging

Perry, Macy
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of three types of O2 scavengers on color stability in a retail environment. Five different products were each placed into a master bag (n = 45) with either a control, test-A, or test-B scavenger. Products included: top sirloin steaks, top round steaks, ground beef (GB) patties (85% lean 15% fat GB 0.45 kg loaf (90% lean 10% fat), and GB 1.36 kg loaf (73% lean 27% fat). On d 5, 8 and 11 (ground product) and d 5, 8 and 15 (whole muscle product) of dark storage, one master bag from each treatment was randomly pulled and assigned to retail display. Headspace analysis was conducted before the product was removed from the master bag to prevent the use of a leaking package in the study. Visual color and objective color measurements (L* and a*) were collected on d 1 - 4 of display. Muscle color, display color and surface discoloration were all analyzed by a trained panel (n = 6). Total plate count was conducted on d 1 and d 4 of display. The results of this study showed minimal significant differences between scavenger treatments and one scavenger did not have a consistent advantage over the others. Top sirloin steaks, top round steaks, GB patties and GB 73/27 loaves maintained acceptable visual and instrumental color values throughout all of retail display for all scavenger types. The only product that reached levels of discrimination by consumers were the 90/10 loaves stored with the control and test-A scavengers due to amount of surface discoloration. Therefore, these results conclude the test O2 scavengers performed comparable to the control.