Irradiation and additive combinations on the pathogen reduction and quality of poultry meat

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Kim, Il Suk
Lee, Eun Joo
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Ahn, Dong
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Reduction of foodborne illnesses and deaths by improving the safety of poultry products is one of the priority areas in the United States, and developing and implementing effective food processing technologies can be very effective to accomplish that goal. Irradiation is an effective processing technology for eliminating pathogens in poultry meat. Addition of antimicrobial agents during processing can be another approach to control pathogens in poultry products. However, the adoption of irradiation technology by the meat industry is limited because of quality and health concerns about irradiated meat products. Irradiation produces a characteristic aroma as well as alters meat flavor and color that significantly affect consumer acceptance. The generation of a pink color in cooked poultry and off-odor in poultry by irradiation is a critical issue because consumers associate the presence of a pink color in cooked poultry breast meat as contaminated or undercooked, and off-odor in raw meat and off-flavor in cooked meat with undesirable chemical reactions. As a result, the meat industry has difficulties in using irradiation to achieve its food safety benefits. Antimicrobials such as sodium lactate, sodium diacetate, and potassium benzoate are extensively used to extend the shelf-life and ensure the safety of meat products. However, the use of these antimicrobial agents alone cannot guarantee the safety of poultry products. It is known that some of the herbs, spices, and antimicrobials commonly used in meat processing can have synergistic effects with irradiation in controlling pathogens in meat. Also, the addition of spices or herbs in irradiated meat improves the quality of irradiated poultry by reducing lipid oxidation and production of off-odor volatiles or masking off-flavor. Therefore, combinations of irradiation with these additives can accomplish better pathogen reduction in meat products than using them alone even at lower levels of antimicrobials/herbs and irradiation doses. Effects of irradiation and additive combinations on the pathogen reduction and quality of poultry meat will be discussed in detail.


This proceeding is published as Ahn, Dong U., Il Suk Kim, and Eun Joo Lee. "Irradiation and additive combinations on the pathogen reduction and quality of poultry meat." Poultry Science 92, no. 2 (2013): 534-545. doi:10.3382/ps.2012-02722.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013