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Figure 6. This diagram illustrates how the rate of tenderization of meat, through aging, increases with holding temperature. The rate of tenderization at temperatures of 0°C is relatively slow, and long holding periods are required at this temperature. As the temperature is raised during cooking, the rate of aging has an important part to play in the final tenderness. However, at temperatures above approximately 60°C, aging ceases. Source: Ref. 45, used with permission.

of cold shortening). High temperature tends to suggest that conditions are present to allow increased bacterial growth as well as meat aging, but in practical terms, surface drying prevents microbial growth on the meat surfaces. Rapid aging is not required when there is sufficient time available between slaughter and retail for aging to occur. Vacuum packaging or modified atmosphere packaging can ensure that bacterial growth is low under these circumstances. Aging also occurs when frozen meat is thawed and continues during subsequent holding. In certain species such as venison and other game animals, extreme aging is often regarded as desirable.

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