Better marinated products

The most recent research results into marination show that it is the acids that increase the meat's shelf life - and with the barbecue season well underway that is a very interesting piece of information.

This article was last updated more than two years ago.

For about three years now Matforsk – Nofima Mat has been part of a user controlled research project, with Nortura as project manager and with the participation of Tine and Fjordland. The aim of the project is to find more long-lasting, healthier and tastier marinades for meat and fish products. The project has already made several interesting and surprising findings.

Spices and oils for flavour

While it was previously believed that oils and spices helped to keep the meat fresh for longer, recent research results show that in normal amounts these ingredients have no effect at all on shelf life. But they are of course important for flavour.

"This is something completely new, because in pure laboratory trials both oil and spices have increased shelf life. But correct testing on meat and fish shows that there is no such effect. To have any effect, the amount needed would be so great that the taste of spice would dominate completely," says scholarship holder Bjørn Schirmer of Matforsk – Nofima Mat.

Vinegar does the job

Vinegar is the most effective means of prolonging shelf life – better than lemon juice and similar. All varieties of vinegar have a useful effect. And acids will not inhibit the growth of the positive lactic acid bacteria, so they can safely be used.

Testing with lactic acid bacteria

It seems to be possible to select favourable lactic acid bacteria that combat the undesirable ones. Several model trials have been carried out in this area and the test results have been good. Now testing is underway on meat to see whether the positive lactic acid bacteria can prevent the development of undesirable bacteria, thereby avoiding bad tastes and smells. The technique will be very much like that used for the production of cheese and cured sausage.

Barbecuing marinated meat and fish is becoming increasingly popular and many consumers choose products that are ready marinated. There is therefore a need to know more about which ingredients in the marinade affect shelf life and taste. This research project is financed by the Research Council. Nofima Mat is also involved in an EU project in which marination is an important theme.

 Food safety and quality  

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