The decontamination of meat is a required process, which improves the safety of the food and reduces the number of undesirable microorganisms. Nowadays, thermal techniques involve the traditional and most commonly used method to achieve microbial stability and safety in the production of meat products. In principle, two types of thermal treatment can be distinguished for meat and poultry meat products: i. the pasteurisation and ii. sterilisation.
Both treatments are completely effective, economical and readily available, although in many cases they have undesirable effects on food quality that a food processor must understand to be able to minimise. On the other hand, both processes are important from the point of view of energy use and water consumption. Food processors have been using alternative techniques, which reduce the impact of those two environmental aspects. In fact, the use of high-pressure processing for pasteurisation and cooking processes in the production of meat and poultry meat products can be employed to reduce the energy use.
The high pressures technique can be used to replace the conventional thermal pasteurisation of cooked meat products. The application of this technique results in energy savings and also contributes to the elimination or significant reduction of the quantities of inserted conservatives and chemical additives.