Kerala-based Arjuna Natural Extracts, India, has rolled out the ‘X-tend’ – a natural preservative designed to increase chilled meat shelf-life, improve food safety and protect public health.
It works by replacing the preservation properties created by nitrosomyoglobin – a compound formed in meat by the interaction of nitrite and myoglobin that creates the red colour that meat consumers associate with freshness.
“Today’s meat industries are increasingly seeking more ready-to-use solutions that are tailored and natural, allowing for clean-label products,” said Benny Antony, Arjuna’s joint managing director.
“X-tend is offered in both liquid and powder forms. It is a comprehensive, natural solution, safeguarding taste, colour, product safety, and increased shelf-life,” he added.
Arjuna’s new formulation is said to provide a fix for problems typically encountered in chilled meat, including microbial spoilage, foul smells, short shelf-life, oxidisation and flavour imbalance. It also prevents the growth of yeast and mould in chilled meat, according to tests.
”We conducted a number of bench trials to measure how X-tend performs in chilled meat preservation,” said Antony.
“The excellent results encouraged us to offer this new, powerful natural preservative formulation to meat manufacturers. It’s a new, clean way of preservation that also can help differentiate cured meat products in the marketplace.”
Arjuna said one of the “biggest challenges” the industry faced in replacing synthetic preservatives was trying to successfully mask unwanted flavours, while simultaneously using ingredients that prevented microbial spoilage.
Nitrate is sometimes added to some processed meats in order to preserve them. When it interacts with stomach acid during digestion, nitrosamines are produced. Some researchers believe exposure to these increases the risks of developing cancer.