Description

Electrical stimulation is a process that involves passing an electric current through the body or carcass of freshly slaughtered animals. This current causes the muscles to contract, increasing the utilization of muscle energy reserves, and leads to acceleration of glycolysis and subsequent rigor development. Electrical stimulation as a means of attempting to increase tenderness has been used experimentally on pigs, deer, goats, sheep, cattle, and various poultry species and, until recently, used commercially on all of these except pigs. This has changed as it has been shown that if stimulation is applied at 20 min postslaugh-ter and the chilling rate is sufficiently fast (eg, deep leg to 10°C in 5-10 h), then the meat in those animals susceptible to pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) does not show it, and the remaining meat avoids cold shortening (15).

There are numerous physical methods by which electrical stimulation could be applied many different possible electrical specifications, and in reality many different perceptions of the response. Regardless of species, stimulation can be applied immediately after slaughter or at any point in time thereafter until the muscles become unresponsive. The time until muscles fail to respond is related to the natural rate of glycolysis and the voltage being applied, the duration of stimulation, and the type of response expected.

Most commercially used electrical stimulation systems employ the conveying rail as ground, and a live electrode contacts some other point of the body, carcass, or side. In the most basic systems, the live electrode contact is a clip

15. G. Dussap and J. B. Gros, "Diffusion-Sorption Model for the Penetration of Salt in Pork and Beef Muscle," in P. Linko et al., eds., Food Process Engineering, Elsevier Applied Science, Barking, United Kingdom, 1980.

16. J. B. Fox, "Diffusion of Chloride, Nitrite and Nitrate in Beef and Pork," J. Food Science 45, 1740-1744 (1980).

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