Meters and Testers
In the meat processing industry, the monitoring of pH is considered to be of the utmost importance due to its effect on the meat's quality factors including water binding capacity and shelf life. Upon slaughter, biochemical processes begin to break down the meat. Glycolysis begins post-mortem, converting glycogen to lactic acid, reducing the pH of the carcass. Depending on a number of factors such as type of animal and even breed, this decrease in pH can take anywhere from a single hour to many. It is vital to monitor pH during this phase as once the lowest pH value is reached, the pH will begin to slowly rise, indicating that decomposition has begun.
The pH value of meat influences its’ water binding capacity which directly impacts consumer qualities such as tenderness and color. Lower pH values result in a lower water-binding capacity and lighter colors. Factors such as these can be important when considering how to efficiently produce meat products. For example, when producing dry sausages the meat must have a low water binding capacity so that it can dry evenly.
Depending on the type of the final product and the steps required to get there, pH values will vary throughout the meat processing industry. It is imperative, regardless of the final product, that pH be maintained at a low value to prevent bacterial spoilage and comply with food safety regulations. By monitoring pH values throughout the meat production process, you can ensure the creation of consistent and safe meat products.