Quality characteristics of irradiated ready-to-eat meats
Sliced, ham and all-pork frankfurters were irradiated at 1.6 kGy and evaluated for color, lipid oxidation, odor, flavor, and the production of volatiles over an 8-week storage period. Irradiation processing did not affect color or lipid oxidation values for the ham or frankfurters. Irradiation processing increased off-odor scores for the ham but not for frankfurters. Off-flavor scores were not significantly different for ham but were higher in frankfurters due to irradiation processing. Dimethyl disulfide content increased as a result of irradiation in both products but decreased over the 8-week storage period.;Corned beef, roast beef, all-beef frankfurters, chicken roll, all-chicken frankfurters, turkey roll, cured turkey roll and all-turkey frankfurters were irradiated at 1.6 kGy. Each of the products were evaluated for color, odor, flavor and volatile compounds. Irradiation treatment did not significantly affect color scores for any of the products except the turkey roll. Off-odor scores increased due to irradiation processing for corned beef, roast beef, chicken roll, cured turkey roll, and turkey frankfurters. Off-flavor scores were increased by the irradiation treatment for the cured turkey roll. Irradiation processing increased the production of dimethyl disulfide for all of the products with the exception of the beef frankfurters. In addition, some of the volatiles present in the beef frankfurter spice blend were increased in the irradiated beef frankfurters.;Sliced cured ham was packaged in aerobic or vacuum atmospheres, irradiated at 0, 1.2, 2.3 and 4.5 kGy and stored for 0 and 7 days. The ham treatments were evaluated for cured color, oxidation-reduction potential and residual nitrite content. Irradiation processing decreased cured color as irradiation dose increased from 0 to 4.5 kGy as evidenced by lower a*/b* ratios and cured pigment analysis regardless of packaging atmosphere. Cured color was regenerated over time and resulted in higher a*/b* ratios on day 7 compared to day 0 for the 4.5 kGy treatment. Oxidation-reduction potential was decreased on day 0 and day 7 for the vacuum-packaged treatment that was irradiated at 4.5 kGy compared 0 kGy treatment. Residual nitrite levels were also lower for the 4.5 kGy treatment compared to non-irradiated control following irradiation.