Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Spoilage of beef, lamb and venison by psychrophilic and psychrotrophic clostridial species renders meat unacceptable resulting in financial losses and reduced consumer confidence. A number of clostridial strains, including Clostridium algidicarnis, Clostridium algidixylanolyticum, Clostridium estertheticum, Clostridium frigidicarnis and Clostridium gasigenes, have been implicated in red meat spoilage. Unlike other spoilers, these clostridia are able to grow in anaerobic conditions and at chilled temperatures (some at −1.5 °C the optimal storage temperature for chilled red meat). The spoilage they cause is characterised by softening of the meat, production of large amounts of drip (exudates), offensive odours and in the case of C. estertheticum and C. gasigenes production of gas. Spoilage occurs following the introduction of clostridial spores into vacuum packages during processing. Germination of spores is necessary for the growth of vegetative cells, which cause spoilage. Current mitigation strategies focus on good management practice within meat processing plants. However, this is not always sufficient to prevent spoilage.