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Publication date: 2005-03-31
Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 2005;55(Special issue 1s):37-40
At a nearly constant consumption of meat products the consumption of high quality cooked ham – sliced and prepackaged – increases steadily the last years. The ban of nearly all technological aids and organic preservatives, together with the inevitability of (re)contamination during slicing makes these hams difficult to prepare. The prohibition to use phosphates is managed by the use of raw hams with superior technological qualities. The prohibition to use lactates and (di)acetates in such “clean label” products obliges to use natural preservatives. These chemicals derived from herbs/spices (coriander, origanum, thyme, etc.), vegetables (garlic, onion, horse radish, etc.) or fruits are able to delay bacterial growth, even to inhibit growth completely when applied in synergetic combinations. Also bacteriocins as nisin, pediocin, lactocin and curvacin are able to inhibit particular groups of bacteria. Their direct application to meat products is rigorously restricted and in most cases prohibited. Otherwise bacteriocins can be supplied indirectly by the use of protective cultures. But for cooked ham this is far from evident. On the other hand, the storage time can be prolongated for months by cold-pasteurisation techniques as pascalisation. Recently high pressure equipment has been developed that can destruct the spoilage and pathogenic microflora leaving colour and flavour unaltered. These pascalisers can generate from 2000 to 7000 bars of pressure. This technology is already in common use in Japan, Spain and the United States of America.
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