Refrigeration

Excellent chilling practice is an important component of meat processing operations.

Refrigeration is the most commonly used method of preserving meat and meat products. 

An effective and efficient refrigeration system is essential to the proper functioning of a meat plant. The system must have adequate refrigeration capacity to maintain the temperatures required in both product cooling and holding areas and in processing areas when both are subject to varying ambient and processing conditions.

The choice of refrigeration technology and methods impact:

  • meat quality
Optimum chilling of carcases will limit the amount of cold shortening that occurs.
  • processing efficiency and production costs
Efficient refrigeration practices will prevent excess power use and weight loss of the carcase.
  • food safety
Maintaining a consistent temperature will prevent microbial growth and maintain shelf life.
  • development of innovative red meat products
Research has shown that chilling practices can be used to enhance certain aspects of meat quality for development of new red meat products.  An example of this is Thin Slice Technology.

There are a variety of practices in chiller operations with chiller set points ranging from just above 0ºC to just below 7ºC. 

Optimisation of refrigeration techniques can be beneficial for a company's efficiency, productivity and environmental performance.