Shelf Life Validation of Marinated and Frozen Chicken Tenderloins
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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It is immensely important for producers and restaurants to know the shelf life of a meat product. If a consumer eats a product that is rancid it could impact a restaurant’s reputation. The objective of this study is to validate the shelf life of marinated and frozen chicken tenders. The treatments were the age of the chicken tender after harvest, which were 4 days of age (DA), DA5, DA6, DA7 and DA8. Spoilage organisms, pH and instrumental color (L*, a*, b*) were measured to assess the shelf life of bulk-packaged bags of chicken tenders. The microbial analysis analyzed the growth of aerobic, psychotrophic and lactobacilli bacteria. Each treatment contained 47.63 kg of chicken. Chicken was sampled fresh then tumbled in a marinade that contained water, salt, modified corn starch and monosodium glutamate. After marinating, the chicken tenders were sampled (0 hours) and the other remaining tenders were put into a blast freezer (-25ºC). After freezing, the chicken thawed in a cooler (2.2ºC) for 132 hours (h) and was sampled at 36h, 60h, 84h, 108h, 132h. After marinating the chicken tenders, each treatment decreased in the aerobic count and the psychotroph count except for DA4. During the thawing test no treatment crossed the microbial threshold of 10^6 CFU/mL. Although none crossed the threshold for this study, treatments DA4, DA5, DA6 had a spike (P < 0.05) in aerobic bacteria when the treatment would have been technically 7 days of age. The psychotrophic bacteria continuously grew at each thaw sampling period with the earlier treatments making larger increases in growth. Both DA4 and DA5 surpassed the other treatments (P < 0.05) at 108h and 132 h reaching 10^5 CFU/mL. Every treatment remained below the microbial threshold, which means that they are not spoiled on a microbial basis.