The effects of varying lean points and packaging types on ground beef sensory traits and lipid oxidation in a retail setting



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This study was conducted to determine the effects of 3 lean points treatments and 3 packaging methods on sensory traits and lipid oxidation on ground beef in a retail setting. Samples (n = 207) comprised of USDA Choice knuckles and shoulder clods were ground and blended to represent 3 lean point treatments; high, medium, and low (94%, 86%, and 78% lean, respectively). Lean point treatments were equally represented among 3 packaging methods; overwrap tray, clear chub, or white chub. Samples were designated for removal from retail display on one of six days (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8) for trained sensory, cooked color, cook loss, and lipid oxidation evaluation. Positive juiciness and off-flavor attributes were detected in both chub methods compared to the overwrap tray throughout display (P < 0.05). The low lean treatment, especially when packaged in the tray method produced the greatest off-flavor (P < 0.05). All other sensory attributes were not significant (P > 0.05). Differences among cooked a* values in packaging methods occurred d 2 – 7, where both chub methods were both more red. Lipid oxidation was significantly affected by packaging method and lean point across days (P < 0.05). Product packaged in overwrap trays had greater oxidation levels, especially for the high lean point treatment. Results indicate varying lean points and packaging methods impact beef sensory traits and lipid oxidation. Vacuum-style chubs prove to sustain favorable attributes over time in a retail setting, when compared to an overwrap tray packaging, especially as fat level increases.



Ground beef, Lipid oxidation, Packaging