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Canned Tuna Firmness

Situation

Tuna being tested for firmness in its canIs this can of tuna of the right texture? Which part of it? Testing for firmness has frequently meant expert but subjective judgment. How can these assessments be correlated with objective measurements for reliable and repeatable testing?

This example shows the method and results from mechanical testing of three cans of tuna in water.

 

 

 

 

 

Method

The testing was done using a Food Technology Corporation (FTC) TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer, fitted with a 25 N intelligent loadcell. A nine-point probe was used, to achieve penetration force readings averaged across the whole can. Testing the product in the can ensured that integrity of the sample was maintained.

For each test, the program advanced the probe to touch the sample, and then drove it down into the sample by 10 mm, before returning to the starting position. The sample was then rotated a few degrees for a further test to be averaged in, or for the next sample to be introduced.

The TL Pro Software calculated the peak force (firmness) and work done (energy) during the penetration cycle.

 

Results

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for the four samples, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement). The test results for the first test on each of the three samples are shown.

Canned tuna firmnes testing results graph

Experience will tell where the limits of acceptable firmness lie. The graph reveals more than just a peak force, which can add useful information. These three samples are distributed and the profile of sample A stands out as being noticeably flatter. Consistency in other factors are important here too, including nature and proportion of liquid, temperature, maintaining clean probes, and compression in the canning process.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here, which is more revealing in terms of the coefficient of variation, reflecting the fact that canned tuna is not a homogenous product, and that in this orientation some probes will always encounter interstices.

Canned tuna firmness testing table of results

  • Average = arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation: (SD/Mean) x 100

 

Significance

In principle, mechanical testing of the firmness of canned tuna is measurable with sufficient averaging around each sample. Other tests could be compared, for example a determined sample weight in a standard receptacle, with a given orientation of the flesh and a defined compression surface area. With the right controls, subjective acceptable texture can be defined in terms of objective mechanical measurement, and this data used to create a quick, reliable and repeatable production line test.

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Ahmed N. Alajaji, Aljazirah Dates and Food, Saudi Arabia
http://www.aljazirahdates.com.sa

As a Meat Scientist and program leader for the University of Nevada, Reno, I need to ensure that equipment I use in my lab is reliable, durable, versatile, and accurate. For texture analysis of meats, there are many systems available in the market. Over the last 15 years of my career, I¹ve worked with many of them and had great and bad experiences with different brands.

Last year, I decided to try a different system for my lab, the TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer from Food Technology Corporation. The system has all the attributes I was expecting to conduct texture and shear force analysis in a quick and not complicated way. The customer support provided by them is outstanding and their technicians are always ready to walk me through new procedures and initial set up. If you are looking for a reliable system for food texture analysis and special customer service, the TMS-Pro is the system to go for and the Food Technology Corporation is the one that can deliver the support.

Amilton de Mello
Assistant Professor of Agriculture, Meat Science and Food Safety
https://www.unr.edu/anvs

I have been working with FTC for the past 3 years, we bought in that lapse of time 2 texture analyzers with different probes fixtures for all kind of applications at our Monterrey Plant. We have always been able to count on the technical support of FTC who kindly answers our requests in a prompt manner and with the best disposition.

As we continue developing our process to achieve better results at our company, we will for sure rely on FTC for technical support and equipment upgrades that will deliver us the best possible results.

Claudia Rojas, Hershey Monterrey Plant - Mexico
Asst. Staff Scientist
https://www.hersheys.com