Meat products are highly perishable foods which, unless correctly stored,
processed, packaged and distributed, spoil quickly and may potentially
become unsafe due to microbial growth. Systematic management of meat product
safety via HACCP includes raw material selection, control of conditions
during processing and distribution. The latter is the weaker link of the
system. Conditions during transportation and at the retail level are out
of manufacturer’s direct control and often deviate from specifications.
Application of an optimized quality and safety assurance system for the
chilled distribution of fresh meat and meat products requires continuous
monitoring and control of storage conditions, from production to consumption.
Time Temperature Integrators (TTI) allow such control
down to product unit level. TTI can show an easily measurable,
time and temperature dependent change that cumulatively reflects the time-temperature
history of the food product. The state of the TTI technology
and of the scientific approach with regards the quantitative study of
safety risk in foods allows the undertaking of the next important step
i.e. the study and development of a TTI based management
system that will assure both safety and quality in the meat chill chain.