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Salami Firmness

Situation

Salami firmness tester with loadcell and probeMeats contain mostly muscle (with directional fibers) plus fat, which will vary from cut to cut, making it a non-homogenous foodstuff in it most natural form. Reconstituted meat-based product – such as salami - may comprise ingredients from different meats as well as fats and other additives. To guarantee the consistent firmness of salami, an understanding of how certain processing parameters affect the final texture of the product is essential to the food producer. Different cooks, cuts and grinds can be evaluated to some degree by subjective sensory testing, however with such a potentially variable product, a more objective scientific approach to firmness measurement will enable more control over the production process – and a more consistent texture for a given set of ingredients. For this analysis we were provided with representative samples from two recipes – named ‘Felino’ and ‘V3’ – one batch each of desirable texture and another graded as out of specification (“off-spec”) for which the processing variable was that of having a greater coarseness of the grind.

 

 

 

 

 

Method

salami-sampleA Food Technology Corporation (FTC) TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer was used, fitted with a 500 N intelligent loadcell and a 25.4mm (1”) perspex cylinder probe. This fixture choice ensured that the sample surface area in contact with the probe was large enough to compress both meat and fat deposits simultaneously - important for an accurate indication of the overall texure. The sausage was sliced into 1” cylinders using a cutom-made jig and oriented on the plattern such as to expose the inner core flesh to the compression probe, which was the specific part of interest. All samples were allowed to equilibrate to ambient temperture (about 72°F) before being sliced and tested.

The FTC TL-Pro test program moved the probe down until it came into contact with the sample surface and set the readings to zero. The probe was then moved into the flesh an additional 10mm at a constant speed of 250mm/min. The software automatically calculated the peak force applied, representing “firmness.” The work done (energy spent), represented by the area under the curve, was also calculated as a measure of the differences in the texture of the samples.

 

Results

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for a representative curve for each of the 4 samples, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

Salami firmness results graph

For both formulations, the coarser, off-spec, samples required a greater compression force which is clearly visible from the curves.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

salami-firmness-results-tablesalami-firmness-results-table

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

 

Significance

This method visibly demonstrates the value of objective measurement of the texture of a product which has a non-homogenous structure and a number of variables in its processing. There is a direct correlation between grind and firmness; the samples with a greater coarseness not only producing an increased firmness, but a significantly greater variation in that attribute due to the larger particulates. The pre-determined grading as to what is desirable to the customer allows the meat producer to establish an acceptable range of firmness for good product which is also valid across different recipes (curing, fermentation and drying parameters). Once the range is established, it can be entered directly into the TL-Pro software and allow the system to give a clear PASS/FAIL indication.

Trusted by customers across the world

The University of Arizona’s Nutritional Sciences Food Lab acquired a Texture Analyzer from Food Technologies about 5 years ago. The company has a great product, which is tailored to food needs. 

We have used the Texture Analyzer for both research projects and as a tool to demonstrate to students how food manufacturers can employ objective testing in product evaluation to show how differing ingredients in the same product can affect quality attributes. Its use adds another dimension to the foods labs.

Drew Lambert has been instrumental in helping with set up for testing and providing support whenever there’s a question. He has been a pleasure to work with and is always accommodating with our needs and schedules.  He has even sent us special attachments for special projects.  We couldn’t ask for a better technical support.  Thanks for a great product and great service.

Patricia Sparks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice
https://www.arizona.edu

I am impressed by the great attitude you have toward your customers.

With all the responsibilities you have, but in less than an hour you reply to our one year’s worth of questions, as if you are dedicated to provide support to our company only.

 

 

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

I have found FTC to be an excellent partner for our company. In particular, it has been especially gratifying to work with Shirl Lakeway. Both creative and accommodating, he worked very hard with us to develop our projects.

I appreciate his commitment to our joint efforts and his open-minded approach. He and FTC have been exceptionally helpful.

Steve Antonius, Del Monte Foods
http://www.delmonte.com/