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Dry ageing (improving eating quality, food safety and usage of novel technology)

Introduction

Ageing is common practice in the meat industry and is associated with improving a number of meat quality parameters including tenderness and flavour. The practice of holding meat over a period of time, usually longer than 14 days, in controlled chilled conditions allows for endogenous enzyme action which causes protein degradation and therefore improves meat tenderness. Prior to the 1960's meat was stored exposed to the environment in chillers that had tightly controlled temperatures, relative humidity's and air flow. When considering evaporation and trimming, this method known as dry ageing, can result in yield losses of up to 50%. Dry ageing however produces meat with a distinctive flavour profile. Ageing meat in vacuum packed bags under chilled conditions was developed in the 1960's to improve yield and is known as wet ageing. These days, consumers are most familiar with wet aged meat due to it being the most economically viable ageing method. Evaporative loss during dry ageing is thought to cause the concentration of proteins and other compounds in muscle meat producing a roast, buttery, nutty flavour.

Dry aged meat has increased in popularity in the high quality restaurant and retail markets. Due to the yield loss and the claimed quality improvements, dry aged meat is marketed as a niche product and consumers can expect to pay a premium for it. For this reason processors tend to select higher grade Angus and Wagyu, striploin or ribeye steak cuts.

Research

Besides the CSIRO/MLA dry age publication noted below, there is currently still only limited international research carried out on dry aged product, of which most has been completed in the United States.

As changes in processing practices, plant design, consumer demands, supply chain, and technological advances, ultimately may potentially cause changes in the eating quality and also food safety.

Lamb cuts has also been investigated for its potential improvements and flavour development during the aging process as well.

The final reports below relate to MLA funded research and innovations on dry aging technology, eating quality and food safety.

Video link for dry aging

Downloads

Title Size Date published
914.5KB 15/01/2016
264.3KB 01/01/2010
925.5KB 13/06/2016
555.6KB 22/08/2016

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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