Meat itself is not a living organism but it is subject to endogenic enzymatic activity, or proteolysis, which causes muscle tissue to mature, become tender and develop a typical taste. This process is retarded by cold. Due to its chemical composition which is rich in proteins, lipids and water, meat is a particularly favourable substrate for the growth of microorganisms. The lipidic content also makes it very sensitive to oxidation.
Healthy animals, hygienically slaughtered after resting and fasting, provide a practically aseptic meat. However, following slaughter the evisceration and dressing operations inevitably produce microbial contamination in depth and especially on the surface, through contact with equipment, tools, hands and clothes, despite all precautions.
Again, micro-organism growth is a temperature-dependent process. To avoid it, it is absolutely essential to reduce the temperature of the meat, especially on the surface, immediately after dressing. Cooling must therefore be carried out in the slaughterhouse itself. This operation is known as primary chilling.
Meat loses weight through surface evaporation. This process depends on differences in temperature and relative humidity between the meat and the environment.
Slaughter operations and carcass dressing separate the parts of the animal which have distinct histological properties and are intended for different uses. The carcass itself incorporates mainly muscles, bones, fat and connective tissue. The offal includes some edible organs, while some glands are used in pharmaceutical preparations. These different parts must be subjected to varying cooling conditions according to their susceptibility to microbial growth, to temperature effects and to the risk of surface dehydration.
Our typical fresh meat storage solutions are 0/+8 degrees and -15/-30 degrees.