Frozen Meat Color

The freshly cut surfaces of frozen red meats are a dark purple but are lighter than the surfaces of chilled anaerobic meat because light transmission is inhibited and reflected light is scattered. In addition, only surface pigments can reoxygenate and affect frozen meat appearance, providing a redness overlying greyer myoglobin. Meat that has been frozen slowly is darker than meat that was rapidly frozen, for example, under liquid nitrogen; the difference being due to the smaller size of the ice crystals with rapid freezing.

Because of the low temperature of frozen meat, the deleterious effects of oxidation at the surface occur more slowly. However, various physical effects such as recrys-tallization occur at the meat surface. These reduce display life by affecting consumer acceptance. For this reason, it is much better to cut frozen meat into cuts immediately prior to display rather than to cut, package, and store the frozen cuts ready for retail display (118). As spoilage or flavor changes are minimal during frozen storage, cutting immediately prior to display is merely for consumer appeal and bears no relationship to actual product quality.

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