Chilled meat will usually be held in display cabinets that are refrigerated, and will be packaged and portioned or unwrapped. These refrigerated displays often use convection that is fan assisted or natural, and the fan assisted models are superior when it comes to keeping lower temperatures since they are less influence by draughts. When the cabinets are stacked good airflow can be maintained around the market chilled meat cuts.

Proper Meat Storage Procedures And Packaging

Raw and unwrapped cooked meat should never be displayed together. Always use display cabinets and refrigerators which are separate so that cross contamination is avoided. Exudate from raw meat can lead to rapid bacterial growth.  Basic packaging for fresh meat using plastic foil is popular due to inexpensive yet reliable film. The primary purpose of this packaging is offering meat which is hygienically protected for retail outlets which are self-service.

At the same time, the meat must satisfy consumer preferences by being bright, fresh and red. The reddish color results from pigment myoglobin that loosely binds with oxygen to produce oxymyoglobin. To develop and maintain this color, the film used for wrapping should have elevated oxygen permeability. However, to prevent cut surface desiccation, the film must also have permeability which is low moisture. As time passes the meat’s surface will become brown which results from the myoglobin attaching tightly with oxygen to produce metmyoglobin. In most cases, this process will take three days but can vary based on temperature and the presence of bacteria.

How To Prevent Contamination

At self-service centers, the meat should be put in a tray made from plastic and overwrapped with a plastic film that is clear. Plastic is safer than using cardboard and the meat portions which are cut should be determined by local demand and based on one day worth of sales.

The purpose behind this packaging procedure is to prevent contamination. Pristine hygiene standards must be maintained at all times. On bigger portions of meat the microorganisms will colonize primarily on the exterior surface. When sliced, even with a knife that is clean, the surface bacteria will spread to the recently cut surface that is moist and will quickly multiply.

All the tools and cutlery used in the packaging room must be kept clean. The packaging materials must be placed in conditions that are hygienic and shielded from both dust and attack from rodents or insects. Any personnel working in such environments must pay close attention to their personal hygiene as well because if not, they could become a source of pathogens which may lead to food poisoning.

Oftentimes these pathogens will thrive better in packaging areas than they will on the packaged meat itself. One reason for this is because the packaging is designed in such a way where it will stop surface desiccation. High humidity and most surfaces will also favor the growth of bacteria.