• Beef colour;
  • flushing cycle;
  • MAP


The effect of two packaging cycles (double flush, 28 s; triple flush, 55 s) on the colour stability of beef in retail trays with oxygen scavengers within a mother pack (50% CO2/50% N2) was assessed. Steaks from six muscles, M. longissimus dorsi, M. psoas major, M. semimembranosus, M. gluteus medius, M. semitendinosus and M. biceps femoris, were examined. The residual oxygen in mother packs was unaffected by the packaging cycle and was below 0.1% in trays for both treatments for up to 6 weeks storage. After storage for 2, 4 or 6 weeks, the packaging cycle had no effect on colour stability (HunterLab a and hue) during 96 h of display. Panel scores for visual and odour acceptability of packaged steaks were generally as high as for fresh controls. Based on reflectance measurements (R630 –R580), M. longissimus dorsi and M. semitendinosus steaks had a display life of 4 days after storage for up to 6 weeks. M. psoas major and M. semimembranosus steaks had a display life as long as fresh controls after 4 weeks, whereas M. gluteus medius and M. biceps femoris steaks had a shorter display life than fresh steaks. It was concluded that the double-flush cycle could be used without affecting the colour or acceptability of beefsteaks.