Phosphates impact color
The phosphates commonly used in meat processing to improve juiciness, tenderness and cook yields can impact color development and maintenance in both fresh enhanced and processed cured and non-cured meat products.
“The phosphate pH, in particular, can affect the color quality of these meat and poultry products,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Phosphates used in meat and poultry processing range in pH from 4.2, such as sodium acid pyrophosphate, to 12.0, such as trisodium phosphate. Phosphates are used either singularly or in blends to provide the desired quality of the final meat or poultry product. While the higher pH phosphates will provide higher cook yields in meat and poultry products, the pH will also influence the color of non-cured, lighter colored meat products such as poultry and pork. Use of a high-pH phosphate such as sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) with a pH of 9.8, or blends of higher pH phosphates can influence the cooked color of the meat or poultry product by impacting the myoglobin pigment. A high pH can slow the denaturation of the myoglobin, thus resulting in a pink internal color even though the product achieved a safe internal cook temperature."
The pH has a major impact on the quality and speed of cure color development in cured meat products.
“Lower pH phosphate blends, such as those containing sodium acid pyrophosphate or diphosphate, and ranging from pH 7.0 to 8.1, will enable a faster cure color development," Mr. Jenkins said. "Such a property is advantageous in those products such as hot dogs and other sausages that are quickly cooked in a continuous oven. Higher pH phosphates and blends, such as those with pH 9.0 to 12.0, can slow down the cure reaction."