10 YEARS OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND EFSA REVEALS THIER SCIENTIFIC OPINION: KEY PARAMETERS ARE CLEARED FOR MEAT MATURATION, KNOWN WORLDWIDE AS DRY-AGE.

25/10/2023
10 YEARS OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND EFSA REVEALS THIER SCIENTIFIC OPINION: KEY PARAMETERS ARE CLEARED FOR MEAT MATURATION, KNOWN WORLDWIDE AS DRY-AGE. 10 YEARS OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND EFSA REVEALS THIER SCIENTIFIC OPINION: KEY PARAMETERS ARE CLEARED FOR MEAT MATURATION, KNOWN WORLDWIDE AS DRY-AGE.

The EFSA Expert Panel states that aerobically matured meat commonly called DRY AGE, if processed under controlled (managed) conditions, is as safe as fresh meat, it also indicates that if you intend to mature meat in your own store, professionally, then it is mandatory to integrate the HACCP system with a specific risk assessment system on the fresh meat it is subject to, ensuring product food-safety.

The evaluation criteria on microbiological hazards to be examined are the same as for fresh meat and vacuum-packed meat, basically: examination of spoilage bacteria, moulds, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella   and all those described in current practices.

“The microbiological hazards that may be present in all aged meats included Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, enterotoxigenic Yersinia spp., Campylobacter spp. and Clostridium spp. Moulds, such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., may produce mycotoxins when conditions are favorable but may be prevented by ensuring a meat surface temperature of -0.5 to 3.0°C, with a relative humidity (RH) of 75-85% and an airflow of 0.2-0.5 m/s for up to 35 days.”

In the opinion drafted by the agency, a combination of parameters are suggested (time-temperatures-humidity-pH-aw-ventilation) that certainly slow down the multiplication of microorganisms but, the same agency clarifies that the suggested parameters are approximate and not definitive, as they are based on predictive models in which data-are lacking for an accurate prediction.

EFSA indicates that for proper and safe maturation (Dry Ageing) of meat, the key parameters to be managed are time of the maturation stages, temperatures, safe pH range, humidityand relative (aw) water activity.

“The impact of dry-ageing of beef and wet-ageing of beef, pork and lamb on microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria was examined and current practices are described. As ‘standard fresh’ and wet aged meat use similar processes these were differentiated based on duration. In addition to a description of the different stages, data were collated on key parameters (time, temperature, pH and aw) using a literature survey and questionnaires.”

A process where the management of multiple factors, actions, analysis and timing are interlocked with hourly results,  leaves space for other combinations of process parameters that may be equally or more effective in slowing or reducing spoilage and pathogen bacteria  mould mycotoxins production.

In short, dangerous moulds and bacteria can proliferate due to a variety of causes, including use of direct or indirect contact materials such as plastic, styrofoam, surfaces and environments that cannot be sanitized, such as in “refrigerators” that do not have a self-cleaning system, have plasticized iron shelves or racks, aluminum oxidation, and many other elements that are exogenous to the meat and that we must take into account, as we are the only ones solely responsible for the process and the product we intend to sell.

In conclusion, for a safe, mold-free, low bacterial load and safe pH range in matured meat (Dry Age), it really comes down to one major factor, the Butcher, Chef or Food Handler’s responsibility, he who last sells this meat to his customer and who has the obligation to manage and verify the process with professional equipment designed and certified for its specific purpose, meat maturation.

Cuomo’s patented EUROPEAN method of controlled pH meat maturation, EP2769276B1, applied with Stagionello® Meat Maturing Device and Stagionello® Salami Curing Device  technologies and the SICUR FOOD CONTROL® device, guarantee the comprehensive management of the elements indicated by EFSA, above all they continuously analyze process parameters and the pH values of the meat during maturation to keep it within the safe range, warding off the proliferation of moulds and bacteria.

Our team is particularly proud of the recognition given to STAGIONELLO® technologies, 100% Made in Italy, this because the Italian Gastronomic Culture also includes, high tech, research and development of complex patents like this one, uniquely valuable in protecting a cultural heritage of millenary traditions and to guarantee populations the entitlement to eat traditionally.