Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 3, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Lean color is of critical importance in consumer purchase decisions for fresh meat. The deterioration of lean color costs retailers due to discounted prices and product further processed into a less valuable product. It has been estimated that the U.S. beef industry could prevent $520 million in lost revenue annually from retail sales by improving retail lean color stability. Vitamin C has been shown to enhance the lean color stability of meat during display when administered as an antemortem intravenous injection or as a steak surface treatment. We evaluated the effectiveness of injecting a vitamin C solution into meat cuts for enhancing lean color stability during retail display and the effect of vitamin C in combination with calcium chloride to simultaneously improve meat tenderness and lean color stability. Our results indicate that injecting (5% by weight) fresh meat cuts with an aqueous solution of vitamin C enhanced lean color stability during retail display. The optimum vitamin C concentration was .5 to 1%. Thus, retail color display life can be extended by injecting whole beef subprimals with 5% by weight of a .5 or 1% vitamin C solution. Vitamin C added to the calcium-activated tenderization solution more than offsets any detrimental effects of calcium chloride on color during retail display.
The objectives were 1) to determine if vitamin C injected into beef top round cuts would stabilize color during retail display and, if so, what concentration would be most effective, and 2) to determine the effect of incorporating vitamin C into a calcium chloride injection solution. Top round cuts were injected with 5% by weight of a 0, .25, .5, 1, 2, or 4% sodium ascorbate solution (Exp. 1), or a 0, .5, 1, or 1.5% sodium ascorbate solution (Exp. 2). Cuts were aged either 14 (Exp. 1) or 16 (Exp. 2) d, then 2.54-cm thick steaks were cut, overwrapped with PVC film and stored at 9 deg C (Exp. 1), or at either 1 or 9 deg C (Exp. 2) for 7 d under 2152 lx of ultralume fluorescent light. In Exp. 1, vitamin C resulted in more (P < .05) stable lean color during 9 deg C display, and .5, 1, and 2% vitamin C were most (P < .05) effective. In Exp. 2, color stability scores indicated all concentrations of vitamin C maintained redder (P < .05) steaks at 3, 5, and 7 d display than control steaks. Experiment 3 utilized bottom rounds to compare control, vitamin C, CaCl2, and vitamin C + CaCl2 treated (injected with 5% by weight of a 1% sodium ascorbate solution, 200 mM calcium chloride solution or both in combination, respectively) steaks displayed at 1 deg C. Calcium chloride treated steaks were browner (P < .05) on d 5 and 7, while steaks treated with vitamin C or vitamin C + CaCl2 were redder (P < .05) and had lower (P < .05) discoloration on d 5 and 7 than control steaks. Vitamin C (alone, or in combination with CaCl2) can be injected into beef subprimals to enhance lean color stability and extend retail display life.