Meat+Poultry - August 2020 - 42

INGREDIENT ISSUES

included in fully cooked meats. Sodium
chloride, or table salt, is the most common salt;
however, if lower sodium is desired in the final
product, some of the sodium chloride may be
replaced with potassium chloride.
Both salts may be injected into whole
muscle via a brine solution before cooking or
blended in as a dry ingredient in processed
meats. They function by decreasing water
activity, or conversely, increasing osmotic
pressure. The increase in osmotic pressure in
the environment causes water to move through
the cell membrane and out of microorganisms.
Basically, this dehydrates the cell and it
loses viability.
Salt is a major component of the soy sauce
used as a marinade in the zero-sugar beef
jerky from Old Trapper, Forest Grove, Ore.
In addition, the soy sauce contains sodium
benzoate, another common salt preservative.
Sodium nitrite and apple cider vinegar also
keep the product safe while contributing flavor.
With only 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving,
the smoky, full-bodied jerky is intended for lowcarbohydrate and keto dieters.
Sodium nitrites and nitrates produce
desirable color in processed meats and are
responsible for adding a zingy, tangy flavor. But
more importantly, they are a highly effective
preservative in cured fermented sausages
and charcuterie, many of which are stored at
room temperature.
Many ambient-held sausages include
bioprotective cultures. The science here is to

Apple cider
vinegar functions
as a natural
preservative.

MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

stock.adobe.com/@ phive2015

42

introduce competing microorganisms -
mainly lactic acid bacteria - into the system.
Through fermentation they reduce the acidity
of the food, which in turn inhibits pathogens
from growing.
A growing number of meat and poultry
processors include bioprotective cultures in
products such as bacon, cooked ham, cooked
poultry strips and fresh sausages to provide
an extra layer of safety. It's one more hurdle in
their food safety plan.
Nitrates and nitrites do not have to be
directly added to cured products. They may be
added by formulating with natural ingredients
that are inherent sources of nitrates and
nitrites. This includes plant extracts, usually
in powder form. Celery powders are the most
common, followed by spinach and Swiss chard.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
requires companies that take this natural
approach to label the product as "uncured"
with "no nitrates or nitrites." Labels must also
include a disclaimer that identifies the natural
source of nitrates and nitrites.
Apple cider vinegar, just like other types
of vinegar, functions as a natural preservative.
Acetic acid is the primary component of
vinegar. Fermentation technology allows for
the development of optimized-performance
ingredients, such as buffered vinegar, which
comes in dry and liquid formats and has a range
of acetic acid concentrations and usage rates.
There are low- and no-sodium options, too.
Other food-grade acids that assist with
food safety include lactic acid and propionic
acid. Like acetic acid, they are often used
in a buffered or neutralized format (with
a conjugate base). Their mode of action is
the same, but their effectiveness varies by
the organic acid, specifically the amount of
undissociated or non-ionized acid. It is the
undissociated acid that penetrates microbial
cell walls. Once inside the microorganism,
where the pH is near or above neutral,
the acid dissociates, lowering the pH. The
pathogens encountered in the meat and poultry
processing and distribution environment are
pH-sensitive; thus, this change in pH impairs
or stops growth. Further, the anionic parts
of the organic acid, which are the negatively
charged ions, remaining in the microorganism
will accumulate, disrupting metabolic
functions. This leads to an increase in osmotic


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