Safe and qualitative dry aging of beef

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    To get more insight into the additional sensorial value of 'dry-aged' beef, the microbiological safety and the ideal process conditions to get a qualitative and safe product on the market, the OPTIDRYBEEF project was started in 2016. There are three goals: 1) to get more insight into the sensory added value of “dry-aged” beef (aroma, taste and appearance); 2) to map the microbiological safety of dry-aged beef; and 3) to determine the ideal processing to bring a high-quality and safe product to market. For example, one central research question is  “What is the relationship between process conditions (ripening period, temperature, relative air humidity), and quality and safety of the end product?”

    Research approach
    The project includes four work packages. A state of the art will be drawn up on the basis of the scientific literature and an inventory of the common practices in Flanders. Next, controlled ripening trials are performed to examine the sensorial, physicochemical and microbiological quality in function of the process conditions, ripening period, type of the raw material etc. Further challenge tests will be done where pathogens will be inoculated to examine the microbiological safety. In a final work package specific cases are handled in companies that are part of the user group of the project. During these cases, protocols for cleaning and disinfection are adapted and influences of packaging are investigated.

    An important end result of this project is a code of good practice for the dry aging of beef. That document will describe the limits of temperature and relative humidity in order to obtain a microbiologically and chemically safe product. The influence of aging time, temperature and relative humidity during dry aging on yield and sensory quality of dry aged beef will be accurately and thoroughly described. Finally, the most suitable raw materials (fat coverage, animal type, breed) for dry aging of beef will be determined and the typical tenderness and the specific aroma components of dry aged beef will be characterized objectively in order to distinguish it from classically ripened meat cuts. The criteria for a high-quality, safe end product will therefore become clear for every producer.
    Effective start/end date1/07/1630/06/18