Avilés, C., Juárez, M., Larsen, I. L., Rodas-González, A. and Aalhus, J. L. 2014. Effect of multiple vacuum packs on colour development and stability in beef steaks. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 94: 63-69. The aim of this study was to compare the colour stability of steaks from longissimus dorsi muscle previously submitted to four treatments of vacuum packaging and aged for 15 d. Muscle portions were either vacuum packed and aged for 15 d (NRP), or repacked after 2 h (RP2h), 8 d (RP8d) and after 2 h and 8 d (RP2h 8d). Purge loss values from RP8d and RP2h 8d treatments were higher (P=0.019) than those from NRP and drip loss was higher (P=0.001) for RP2h and RP8d. Colour changes during a 30-min period of exposure to atmospheric oxygen immediately after opening the packages were similar for repackaged-aged steaks and NRP steaks (P>0.05). Nevertheless, colour stability during subsequent retail display under atmospheric air conditions was affected by the packaging treatment. The decrease in chroma values (P=0.043) and the increase in hue (P=0.011) between day 3 and day 6 was minimum for RP2h 8d, compared with NRP, RP2h and RP8d. Also, the proportion of pigment in the myoglobin form in these three treatments dramatically increased from day 3 to day 6, while no effect was observed for RP2h 8d (P=0.005). Similarly, the decrease over time in the proportion of pigment in the oxymyoglobin form in meat from the RP2h 8d treatment was much lower (P=0.002) than for the other three packaging treatments. Changes in colour stability associated with multiple vacuum packagings may confound results in experimental designs. Thus, if beef colour is to be evaluated, repeated vacuum packaging should be limited.
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