Products after cooking and cooling are usually stored in a holding cooler before packaging. Sometimes holding or tempering is a necessary process for sliced or cellulose-casing products. Rapid cooling can cause slicing problems due to fat crystallization. Blast-air chilling enhances the cohesion of meat and casing. It is difficult to separate cas ing right after blast-air chilling. The tempering process can improve product sliceability as well as peelability.
The packaging area is normally under refrigeration and kept around 40°F. General packaging procedures are illustrated in Fig. 3.
Products must have the casing peeled off or be ejected from a mold; except for natural casing, edible collagen casing, or cook-in-bag products. The mold products are ejected with compressed air or mechanical plungers. For casing products, there are various types of machinery to remove cellulose casing. The most commonly used peeling machine for link products is that the casing is first moistened with steam and is then slit longitudinally by a sharp razor blade. When the slit casing is moved forward, an air jet aims at the knife cut location to blow casing off the product. Afterward, the casing is stripped away with a vacuum suction drum. The peeled products are randomly collected in a hopper. A collating machine is needed to rearrange the
Packaging flow chart
To storage or shipping
Figure 3. Packaging flow chart.
To storage or shipping
link products in an orderly form for automatically loading into the packaging packet. The sliced products can be arranged in shingled or stacked configuration. A slicer with a rotating blade is the most commonly used slicing machine. Emulsion products require slower rotation speeds for clean and smooth appearance. Muscle products need more spinning action to protect product integrity and produce uniform slices. The sliced products are often manually loaded into a packaging cavity because of stacking or shingling characteristics. The slicing temperature should be kept below 32°F.
The most widely used packaging machine is a form-fill-seal machine. This machine requires two different types of film; a forming film and a nonforming film. The forming film is preheated and moved forward to the forming die where the desired shape and size can be formed by vacuum suction, forming plug, or both simultaneously. The formed cavity is indexed to the loading station. Products that come from a collator or slicer are automatically or manually placed into the formed cavity. After product loading, the nonforming film is brought in place over the formed film containing the product as the package moves to the final seal station. At the sealing station, air is evacuated from the cavity at a vacuum level higher than 27 in. and then both forming film and nonforming film are hermetically sealed together by heat-seal bars that melt the two sealant layers and weld them together under pressure. For some applications, such as a control atmosphere package, an inert gas or gas mixture is backflushed after the vacuumization before final sealing. The sealed packages are then trimmed and boxed. Oxygen causes processed meat to spoil and must be evacuated during mixing, chopping, emulsifying, and stuffing processes. Packaging film and a packaging machine alone cannot eliminate the residual oxygen inside the package. The performance of the packaging machine is extremely important. It can become out of adjustment easily, owing to its extreme high operating speed. A strict maintenance program is needed.
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It is a well known fact that homemade food is always a healthier option for pets when compared to the market packed food. The increasing hazards to the health of the pets have made pet owners stick to containment of commercial pet food. The basic fundamentals of health for human beings are applicable for pets also.