Cooking process & shelf life


Why meat and sausages arecooked

Meat andsausage products are primarily cooked so that they have a longer shelf life.Small quantities can be treated in boiling kettles, i.e. hot water. For largequantities, cooking chambers with saturated steam are usually used. Trolleysspecially manufactured for this purpose are filled with the products and pushedinto the cooking chamber. The door is closed and a program is started.

However, thequality of the products can be affected in various ways. A product can become too hotor the products are too long inside because the contact thermometer doesnot function reliably. This can also happen with mobile cooking chambers – butthe effects are greater there because more products are treated.

Over thedecades, controls improved with reliable watches and better temperaturecontrols. Recently, more and more attention has been paid to precise control ofthe core temperature. Unnecessary cooking leads to high weight losses and aperfect core temperature significantly improves durability. For this reason,core temperature rules attempt to achieve the shortest cooking time with thelowest prescribed core temperature. This ensures optimum shelf life.


How the cooking processdetermines shelf life

In themanufacture of preserved foods, the use of high temperatures reduces the numberof microorganisms responsible for the spoilage of the product.

Because ofthis method of preservation, it is also known that it is not only the height ofthe temperature that is important. It is much more important to know how long atemperature has an effect on the product. The efficiency of these twoinfluences, the level of the temperature and the exposure time, are expressedin the so-called F value.

Theimportance of this value has been recognised in the sterilisation of cannedfood. Modern production methods cannot be imagined without the F-value. The sameapplies to the normal cooking process, which takes place below 95 degreesCelsius. However, this is pasteurisation: the microorganisms to be killed arenot spores, but D-streptococci. These are the most resistant in thistemperature range.

Researchwork in this field of pasteurisation makes it possible to use the correctF-value here as well and to cook for a correspondingly long time on the basisof experience.