Influence of Vacuum Packaging on Instrumental Surface Color Characteristics of Frozen Beef Steaks

Author(s): Madison P Wagoner, Tristan M Reyes, Virgina E Zorn, Madison M Coursen, Katie E Corbitt, Barney S Wilborn, Terry D Brandebourg, Aeriel D Belk, Tom Bonner, Jason T Sawyer

Consumers often consider beef color as a sole indicator of product freshness at the time of purchase. However, disruptions in meat manufacturing may cause manufacturers to create frozen retail meat products, but changes to surface color during frozen storage may be deleterious. Therefore, the objective for the current study was to determine the effect of vacuum packaging on instrumental surface color values of boneless ribeye steaks during frozen storage. Steaks were cut 2.54-cmthick, assigned to one of three packaging films, allowed to bloom for 30 min and immediately frozen. Throughout the 25 days of frozen storage, instrumental surface color values were collected. Steaks packaged using MDF were lighter (p < 0.05) but became darker as storage time increased. However, redness (a*) values were greater (p < 0.05) for steaks packaged using MDF from day 10 to 25, as well as more yellow (b*) from day 7 to 25 (p < 0.05). Furthermore, steaks packaged in MDF were more (p < 0.05) vivid (C*) and possessed redder values for red-to-brown (RTB), oxymyoglobin (OMb), and hue angle from day 7 to 25 of the simulated storage period. These data indicate that choice of vacuum packaging film impacted instrumental surface color of frozen retail cuts with MDF packaging more effectively maintaining optimal color throughout the duration of this study.

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