chapter  11
14 Pages

Fermented Meat Products

ByMartin Adams

Meat is highly nutritious but, in its fresh state, is perishable and can be an agent for thetransmissionofarangeofinfectionsandintoxications.Notsurprisingly,therefore, meatwasasubjectoftheearliestconservationmethodsdevelopedbyhumankind. Thesedependedlargelyfortheireffectonthereductionofwateractivity(aw) through removalofavailablewaterbydryingandsalting.Thishadtheeffectofcontrolling growthofnormalspoilagemicro•oraassociatedwiththemeatbutdidnotnecessarily eliminatemicrobialgrowthentirely.Intheabsenceofthenormalspoilagebacteria, lacticacidbacteria(LAB)inparticularwereabletogrow,especiallywherethere wasamoderatereductioninaw. Their growth enhanced the preservative effect of the reducedaw and improved the sensory properties of the product in terms of texture and •avor.Theyalsocontributedtoimprovedsafetycomparedwiththefreshrawmaterials.Productssuchasrawhamsaresometimesdescribedasfermentedmeats,although inthiscasetheprocessislargelyenzymatic;anybacterialmetabolisminvolvedisnot fermentative and its effectcan usually be reproducedby replacing nitrate with nitrite in the curing salts. These will not be discussed in detail here.