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Is it safe to eat aged meat?

eat meat matured It has become a fashion for some time now: it consists of a natural process by which the meat is subjected to a period of rest that involves the loss of moisture, and the objective is for the product to gain tenderness and obtain a flavor More powerful. To achieve this, the maturation phase must last between 15 and 30 days, so that the muscle fibers of the piece break. Is it safe to eat meat this way?

Is it safe to eat aged meat?

if you wonder if is it safe to eat matured meatthe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently concluded that this way of preparing meat “It does not present any additional risk compared to fresh meat if it is matured under controlled conditions.”

This process is natural and allows microorganisms and enzymes to act on the meat to break down the connective tissue, softening it and giving it a more intense flavor.

This can be done through two main methods: wet maturation and dry maturation. Wet aging is used for beef, pork and lamb, which is stored and refrigerated vacuum packed, while dry aging meat is refrigerated without packaging, resulting in a dry outer layer that is cut off. before preparation.

“Aged meat has increased in popularity in recent years among the food industry and restaurants, but until now there has been a lack of knowledge about its safety. EFSA’s advice helps to fill that gap and provides a solid scientific basis for food business operators to produce matured meat that is safe,” said the chair of the EFSA Expert Group on Biohazards, Kostas Koutsoumanis. in a statement released by Europa Press.

The opinion of the European body describes the conditions, expressed as combinations of time and temperature, of the dry or wet maturation process, which would result in the same level of safety as fresh meat.

For example, they show that matured jerky can be considered as safe as fresh meat if the aging “runs up to 35 days at 3°C ​​or below.”

“This is because at higher temperatures mold could grow on the surface of dry-aged meat and some of these molds naturally produce mycotoxins, toxic compounds that can have harmful effects on health”, as indicated by EFSA.

In addition, EFSA experts identified relevant pathogens and bacteria that could develop and survive during the aging process and could be harmful to health. Among them are ‘E. coli’ (especially in beef), ‘Salmonella spp.’, ‘Staphylococcus aureus’, ‘Listeria monocytogenes’, ‘Yersinia spp. enterotoxigenic’, ‘Campylobacter spp.’ and ‘Clostridium spp’.

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