• Commercial systems for ultra-rapid chilling of lamb

      Redmond, Grainne; McGeehin, Brian; Henchion, Maeve; Sheridan, James J.; Troy, Declan J.; Cowan, Cathal; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2001-08)
      The overall objective was to devise a rapid chilling system for the Irish lamb processing industry. The objective of the first trial was to assess the effect of ultra-rapid chilling in air at - 4ºC, -10ºC and -20ºC and subsequent ageing on the appearance and tenderness of lamb carcasses. The objective of the next trial was to investigate the effect of carcass splitting, which produces faster chilling rates and reduces skeletal constraint of muscles, on the tenderness of rapidly and conventionally chilled lamb. The next task was to compare the effects of immersion chilling and conventional air chilling on meat tenderness and evaporative weight loss in lamb carcasses. The next task was to assess the level of interest in industry. This required costings of the process and a survey of several lamb processors focusing on their perceptions of rapid chilling in general, its advantages and disadvantages, and the implications of adopting the new system. The final objective was to introduce the ultra-rapid chilling process to industry via a factory trial. Lambs were ultra-rapidly chilled and then exported to France for assessment.
    • Freeze-chilling of ready-to-eat meal components

      Redmond, Grainne; Gormley, Ronan T.; Butler, Francis; Dempsey, Alan; Oxley, Eamon; Gerety, Ailis (Teagasc, 2004-03)
      Freeze-chilling of food consists of freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and then retailing at chill storage temperatures. It offers logistic, transportation and storage advantages to food manufacturers. Freeze-chilling has particular application to ready-meals and their components. Mashed potato (three cultivars), steamed carrots, steamed green beans and beef lasagne were found suitable for freeze-chilling and their quality and sensory properties compared favourably with their frozen, chilled and fresh counterparts. Modified atmosphere packaging was combined with freeze-chilling but it had little impact on shelflife extension for the product range with the outcome similar to that for samples packed in air. Tests on the freeze-chilling of white sauces showed the importance of using freeze-thaw stable starches. Best-practice thawing procedures were established and the importance of stacking configurations for outer boxes (each with a number of lasagne ready-meals) was highlighted in the case of the commercial tempering unit. Trials on the re-freezing of freeze-chilled products indicated that re-freezing is an option provided the normal storage protocols for frozen and chilled foods are observed.