16. Effects of ionizing radiation sources and dose levels on quality characteristics of meal ready to eat (Minced cow meat)

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Alamgeer Khan, Muhammad Zubair Shah, Zahid Mehmood, Muhammad Asim Irshad, Maazullah Khan, Fawad Ahmad


The increasingly busy routines of people in many countries have driven the demand for safe, convenient and ready-to-eat food. Food poisoning cases, on the other hand are constantly reported. Irradiation offers a potential to enhance food safety and quality by reducing microbial load while maintaining its nutritional values. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the effect of gamma, Electron Beam (EB) and X-Rays irradiation on the safety and quality of Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). MRE samples were prepared from minced cow meat and vacuum packed in 100 g pouches. The samples were irradiated by gamma rays, EB, and X-Rays at irradiation doses of 11, 12, and 13 kGy. The appearance of the irradiated samples was significantly different among the irradiation technologies and dose level (p ≤ 0.05) as compared to the texture, taste, and overall acceptability (p ≤ 0.05). The % crude fat and moisture contents differed significantly from control samples (p ≤ 0.05), while in % crude protein and ash, no significant difference was observed. The irradiated samples showed zero Total Viable Counts (TVC) for the entire storage period. The un-irradiated sample was spoiled after 15 days due to microbial load. The study found that Gamma, EB and X-Rays irradiation processing techniques can be applied for ensuring the safety and quality of MREs food. This will potentially facilitate the availability of food for astronomers, troops during combat or field conditions and as emergency rations during natural calamities.

Keywords: EB; Gamma; Irradiation; MRE; X-Rays


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