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Vascular perfusion chilling (VPC) for red meat carcasses - feasibility assessment - LK0669


SLP LINK Project LK0669F

Vascular Perfusion Chilling Feasibility Study

Start date: 01/04/2006 End date: 31/12/2006

Partners: University of Bristol
Lloyd Maunder Ltd
Romford Wholesale Meats Ltd
Star Refrigeration Limited

Sponsor: Defra

The feasibility of an accelerated method of chilling lamb carcasses was studied. This method circulated a pumpable suspension of very fine ice crystals produced by Star Refrigeration’s Flo-ice system around the vascular systems of freshly slaughtered lamb carcasses. Benefiting from internal heat transfer and efficient and rapid removal of latent heat, the method promises greatly reduced chilling times compared to conventional air chilling. Increased chilling rates can lead to reduced weight loss, better storage qualities, improved food safety, and less space for given throughput. The vascular perfusion system can also offer improved energy consumption compared to conventional chillers.

The 9-month project, which ended in December 2006, involved the University of Bristol’s Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Centre (FRPERC) and Division of Farm Animal Science (DFAS) in collaboration with Star Refrigeration Ltd, Romford Meats Ltd and Llloyd Maunder Ltd.

Results from the work demonstrated that vascular perfusion was capable of rapid temperature reduction during the early stages of chilling. However, leakage of the perfusate into the muscles, organs and cavity of the carcasses limited the duration of perfusion. Treatments of 4 and 8 minutes perfusion were trialled in comparison with air chilled controls, in which times rapid but only partial chilling could be achieved. The leakage of pefusate led to addition of water and salt and to carcass weight gains, and may have influenced many of the quality traits studied.

The rapid initial rates of chilling did not result in toughening (cold shortening) of the meat, but this may have been associated with increased water content. Perfused meat samples were lighter and more yellow as measured by a Minolta Chroma meter. They also had higher water contents (with 8 minutes being the highest, then 4 minutes, then the controls). While carcass grades were judges to be similar, fat cover was thicker on the perfused carcasses. This may have resulted from perfusate uptake into the fat cover. No adverse effects on carcass microbiology were found.

In conclusion, a feasible method of introducing and circulating perfusates was developed for lamb carcasses. However, uptake of perfusate by the carcasses limited the duration for which perfusion could be applied. This meant that enhanced chilling rates were only possible during the early stages of carcass temperature reduction. In addition, the added water was found to influence appearance and texture. For commercial use, the perfusion process requires further development to avoid the uptake of perfusate, to allow longer perfusion and for legal and meat quality reasons.

Judith Evans
FRPERC, University of Bristol
Churchill Building
BS40 5DU
Tel: +44 (0)117 928 9300
Fax: +44 (0)117 928 9314
Project Documents
• Abstract : Vascular perfusion chilling for red meat carcasses - Feasibility assessment   (3410k)
• Executive Summary : Vascular perfusion chilling (VPC) for red meat carcasses   (26k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2006

Cost: £84,656
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Lloyd Maunder Ltd, University - Bristol, Star Refrigeration Limited, Romford Wholesale Meats Ltd
Food and Drink              
Food manufacturing industry              
Food Quality              
Meat Quality              
Process Technology              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain