Brisbane-based product designer and ingredient manufacturer Earlee Products has taken a more ‘natural’ approach in its development of new preservatives used in cooked meat products.
Earlee, featured recently in discussion on Beef Central about value-adding opportunities in beef and the development of the new ‘Reuben Junior’ corned brisket product, has recently launched an innovative all-natural range of liquid preservatives.
The products are designed to greatly improve shelf-life of certain items like smoked meats, cooked whole or pre-packed sliced meats, smallgoods and hams.
The Fleisch-Fresh preservative is used as a surface wash or dip for products before packaging to eliminate listeria. The active anti-microbials used are based on food acids like lemon juice concentrate, vinegar and herb extracts. Shelf-life performance in treated products in chilled vacuum packed form can go from three months to twelve months, in some examples.
The products were developed in response to demand for more consumer-friendly forms of preservatives, Earlee Products general manager Brett McMullen said.
“We screened a large number of compounds found in nature that have an anti-microbial effect, including herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano. But individually, in the concentrations required to have an anti-microbial effect, they added too much unwanted flavour,” he said.
“But we found that when used just below their flavour threshold, and used in various combinations together with an organic acid – we were able to produce a synergistic effect. It applies especially when used in combination with a heat and/or a vacuum pack step.”
“It’s like using a lot of little interventions, rather than using a single sledge-hammer. Additionally, it is less likely to produce bacterial immunity, because there are too many different ingredients in play,” Mr McMullen said.
The new preservative’s ingredients could also have implications in marketing of meat products to consumers looking for more natural, less heavily processed food choices, which are becoming increasingly popular under ‘Natural’ brand claims.
The Fleisch-Fresh product is available in 20kg, 200kg and 1000kg containers for commercial use.