Important parameters to measure for meat processors

By Testo South Africa SANAS Calibration Lab JHB on 19 July 2019

We all consume food daily and take it for granted that the producer offers us, as consumers, fresh and digestible goods. However, a considerable effort is involved in providing unrestricted enjoyment. Foodstuffs go through a complex process before we finally consume them. This requires legal standards, conscientious experts and the corresponding tools for testing quality.

Meat processors deal with fresh (and frozen) meat and other products which can spoil easily, on a daily basis. The observation of temperature conditions is crucial for the quality of the product as well as for minimizing bacteria growth.

The challenges meat processors face have increased in the past years: regulations, documentation, hygiene checks, official assessments, operative self-checks, HACCP system - the requirements placed on businesses which produce and sell foods have been drastically tightened.


Temperature spot checks

The temperature of foods has a crucial influence on the formation and proliferation of germs and therefore on product quality and consumer health. In order to ensure food safety regular temperature checks have to be performed.

Portable temperature measuring instruments, often referred to simply as handhelds, are available in different designs and with different probes.
Instruments with a fixed probe are suitable when always carrying out the same measurement task, e.g. a core temperature measurement of refrigerated foods. 

Infrared temperature measuring instruments measure the temperature without contact. However, due to the nature of the system, only the surface temperature is measured, and not the core temperature. IR measurements are quick, can be done from a distance and are non-destructive.

But be aware, the measurement result is dependent on the surface of the goods/ packaging to be measured.

Temperature monitoring

It is recommended to monitor the climatic conditions in refrigerated rooms with the use of a data loggers. For cold and deep-freeze storage areas which are larger than 10 m3, data recording is even compulsory. According to EN 12830, 15 minutes are considered a suitable measurement interval. The limit values for our wireless data loggers are set to the maximum acceptable temperature. If limit values are exceeded an e-mail, push-notification or SMS alarm is sent to the relevant person. If need be historical data can also be viewed and a precise picture of when the measurement data strayed over the permissible limits and for how long can be observed.


pH measurement

The pH value of foods has a direct effect on the growth of microorganisms and therefore on food quality and safety. The pH value is the key thing when it comes to processing meat and sausages. The pH value has a crucial effect on the key product properties such as the water binding capacity, taste, colour, tenderness and shelf life of the meat. pH value as a quality characteristic for evaluating food is easily measured with the help of a pH meter.

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