Chapter 4 - Meat Processing Controls and Procedures
4.10 Aging and Tenderizing

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Aging of beef has traditionally been used to increase tenderness and flavour and involves holding a carcass for up to 14 days under refrigeration. Where carcasses are aged in this manner, attention must be paid to temperature and humidity, to avoid the development of mould.

Other methods include:

  • treatment with enzymes (enzymes that are approved for use in Canada as defined in the Food and Drug Regulations - Division 16, Table 5);
  • electrical stimulation;
  • holding muscles in traction during rigor mortis;
  • use of fibre breakers or other mechanical means (needles, blades);
  • manufacture of flaked-formed meats; and
  • curing.

These procedures help tenderize the meat and are used in quality control and finish of the product, rather than food safety. With traditional aging, however, temperature and humidity abuse can result in mould growth, and spoilage bacterial growth, both of which can be indicators of possible pathogenic bacterial outgrowth. The operator must implement a program for the control of aging and tenderizing processes. The use of an alternative process or new technology must be approved by the CFIA prior to use.

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