Co-products within the Australian red meat industry typically have a short ‘shelf life’ window in which stabilising for value-added products can be considered before being rendered or such. While bioactives are being viewed as a desirable part of this added value net, processing or recovery of the co-products in a stabilised and functional form is often too expensive for the relatively small volumes recovered at the scattered facilities around Australia.
There is a clear opportunity to add value to the 62% of the slaughtered animal going into co-products. One way to assist this is to stabilise these materials maintaining their functional aspects for use in food or further co-product processing.
Another use is the potential for red meat is snack foods and a hence MLA evaluated technologies for the production of powdered meat which could provide the basis for new snack food products. A number of devices were evaluated for the conversion of meat into dry powder. The product was also evaluated for microbiological quality and for functionality as a food ingredient.
Five red meat co-products, being bone, lung, hide, blood and meat trim, were evaluated for stabilising microbiologically through moisture reduction. This process utilisdes an innovative adaptation of a fluid energy mill that incorporated a mechanical rotor as the supply of fluidising energy. Lung, hide and blood were found to process effectively and were recommended for further assessment.
The above project A.MPT.0027 (powdered meat technology feasibility trials) demonstrated that it is possible to convert a range of carcass components into a dry powder in a single pass through a particular mill. This mill was a prototype and required significant development, which MLA was unable to negotiate a co-operative commercial arrangement with the owners to do.
Project A.MPT.0029 covered the lease of the disintegration technology.
The next project A.MPT.0035 sought to identify potential milling technologies that would be appropriate to the production of stabilised dry or semi-dry powders, from raw materials which might include blood, bone, skin, trimmings, internal organs, glands and waste streams. The potential of this sort of process for the red meat industry lies in the very efficient size reduction and heat transfer rates achievable, which means co-products may be stabilised to low moisture levels without severe long temperature exposure.
In project A.MPT.0036, a stable and functional powdered red meat product was developed using Gorgens Turbo Rotormill on 90 CL beef trim, providing a water holding capacity of 5:1, even with some denaturation having being produced at a minimum of 72 °C. Further improvements were projected with processing down to 60 °C, and proposed simple modifications to enable handling most red meat co-products .