Abstract: Select beef loin pairs (n= 10) were injected (10% pump) with brine containing either 4.5% sodium-based phosphates, (CON), or 1% ammonium hydroxide treatment (AHT). Both brines also contained 3.6% NaCl and 1% Rosemary Herbalox. Steaks cut from loins were high oxygen (80% O2/20% CO2) modified atmosphere packaged, stored 4 d at 4 °C in the dark to simulate transportation, and then placed in retail display for 14 d (4 °C). On day 0, 7, and 14 of retail display steak properties were measured. Purge from AHT steaks was higher than CON (P < 0.05). Panelists were not able to visually discriminate between AHT and CON steaks through the first 6 d of retail display. After day 6, panelists rated AHT steaks higher for muscle color, percent discoloration, and overall color. Steaks from both treatments started at day 0 retail display with similar total plate counts (P > 0.05). Microbial counts increased more rapidly for AHT steaks than CON steaks (P < 0.05). AHT and CON steaks were not different in terms of lipid oxidation through day 7 retail display. By day 14 retail display CON steaks were above the threshold for consumer perception of oxidized flavors in fresh meat. However, results also indicated the AHT and CON steaks were no longer acceptable by day 14 in terms of color, were questionable in terms of microbial load, and likely were beyond their reasonable shelf life. Based on retail display properties, results indicated 1% AHT could successfully replace 4.5% SP in a meat injection brine.
Practical Application: The research in this report compares steaks that have been injected with a commercial brine formulated with SP to steaks that have been injected with a brine, where the SP in the formulation are replaced with 1% AHT. Ammonium hydroxide is an USDA-FSIS approved ingredient in brines injected into fresh meats. Successful replacement of sodium phosphate with ammonium hydroxide would allow processors to significantly reduce the sodium content of injected fresh meat.