Welcome to another day on the Amerex Blog! Today we will discuss a topic that has been key throughout the history of mankind: food preservation.

Preserving food for a long period of time and ensuring its safety for when we want to consume it, has been and still is one of the great challenges of the food industry. Read on if you want to know more!

How to preserve food to increase shelf life?

In the past, techniques such as “salting” were used to preserve food longer. This was based on the partial dehydration of the food, the reinforcement of flavour and the inhibition of certain bacteria.

Later on, the artificial preservatives of synthetic origin that we use today emerged, which are identified on labels with the well-known “E number” and are regulated by Efsa.

Much of the food we consume today contains various additives, both natural and synthetic. Sulphites, benzoates and sorbic acids are some examples of chemical additives used to fulfil the preservation function.

Preventing spoilage micro-organisms from developing in the food to keep it in good condition for a longer period of time is also feasible through the use of natural antioxidants. These alternatives were used in the past and are still valid for their efficacy and safety today.

Natural preservatives used in meat (sausages, hamburgers, stews) are a good example of this.

What meat preservatives are available that are not synthetic?

Lipid oxidation is one of the main causes of alteration of meat and meat products during processing, storage and subsequent sale to the consumer. Oxidation affects different characteristics that contribute to meat quality such as flavour, colour and texture, nutritional value and safety. This often results in the food being returned by the customer or discarded due to poor organoleptic.

Spices or spice extracts are among the most commonly used ingredients in meat and other foods to improve flavour during cooking and to prevent oxidation of the food. This preservative capacity is due precisely to the large amount of antioxidants that these spices naturally contain.

Antioxidants are molecules capable of delaying or preventing the oxidation of other molecules, in this case, fats or meat proteins in the presence of oxygen. It is precisely those foods rich in fat that are most prone to the oxidation process: processed meats, some types of oily fish and nuts (widely used as a base for vegan foods).

How to prevent meat rancidity and improve preservation?

The oxidation of meat produces organoleptic changes, generates the loss of nutritional values and can affect the safety of the product. We have talked in previous posts about the demands of the current market: more and more natural foods that are safe and long-lasting are sought after. For this reason, the use of antioxidants is necessary in the food industry.

extracts to preserve cured meat

Antioxidant substances, thanks to different mechanisms of action, are able to prevent this biochemical process and rancidity from a hamburger to a cured sausage.

The antioxidant properties of extracts or spices are due to the phenolic acids and essential oils they contain. It should also be noted that these compounds can have a bacteriostatic effect.

What are the most commonly used preservatives for meat products?

One of the plants that acts as a preservative most commonly used in industry is rosemary.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is a common plant species in the Iberian Peninsula that was already used in ancient times in traditional medicine thanks to its multiple properties. One of these multiple properties is the powerful antioxidant capacity of some of its components.

Specifically, there are two types of polyphenols: carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. These active ingredients have a high capacity to prevent the formation of free radicals and thus delay oxidation.

Although rosemary is one of the best known and most widely used preservative extracts in the industry, there are many others, such as green tea or grape seed extracts. In addition, they not only prevent oxidation but are also involved in the safety against bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and other food-borne pathogens.

What are Amerex’s options against oxidation of meat or other foods?

At Amerex we work with 100% natural and sustainable preservatives so that the food we eat every day is much healthier and has a longer shelf life.

In addition to protective ferments, we have a wide range of natural antioxidants: the Amexol® range.

This range of natural antioxidants is formulated with spice extracts, so that it is able to maintain the colour of food and reduce rancidity. By preventing lipid and protein oxidation, foods maintain their organoleptic characteristics stable throughout their shelf life.

Our products include not only rosemary extract, but also other extracts whose active ingredients are clean label and, in addition to preventing oxidation, maintain food safety thanks to their antimicrobial effect.

If you want to know more about these natural options to improve your product or clean the label of an existing one, do not hesitate to write us and we will give you more information!


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