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ProCured - Optimising Salting Process in Hams

04 April 2014

SPAIN - A new research project from a Spanish meat technology research institute is aiming to produce healthier ham products with a lower salt content and a better quality.

The ProCured project aims to optimise the salting process to obtain meat products that are healthier and have a standardised salt content.

The production of salt-cured meat products is of great relevance for the European meat industry.

The protected designation of origin (PDO) and the protected geographical indication (PGI) in many of these products (e.g., salt-cured hams), is indicative of healthy, natural, and high quality foods.

However, due to the high amount of salt in these products and the effects of sodium intake levels on risk of development of cardiovascular disease or hypertension, the reduction of the salt content in salt-cured meats is essential to improve public health.

In this context, salt-cured ham producers have been showing increased interest in new technologies that allow developing salt-cured products with lower salt content.

The aim of the ProCured project, with the participation of IRTA (Institute for Agri-Food Research and Technology) from the Department of Agriculture of the Government of Catalonia, is to develop a new system to control the salting stage during the production of salt-cured hams.

The proposed solution is the “on the line” inspection of the hams before the salting process via non-destructive techniques, which allows quantitatively determining the properties in the ham that affect their final salt content.

Considering these variables and using a neuronal network for processing the information, the control system will establish the optimal salting conditions for each ham.

This system represents a benefit for European small and medium-sized enterprises that produce salt-cured hams, providing a technology that will allow them to reduce the variability regarding salt content in their product, thus increasing the homogeneity, allowing producing healthier salt-cured hams with lower salt content in accordance with Regulation 1924/2006.

The ProCured project consortium includes ham producers (GALLONI, CENT), who will validate the technology, and several leading small and medium-sized enterprises of the services and machinery sector for the meat industry (LENZ, ROSER, STEVIA, STRASSER), who will develop a pre-commercial that will be available for the companies at the end of the project.

Furthermore, the project has the scientific and technological support of internationally recognized research centers (ATEKNEA, IRTA, SSICA).

TheMeatSite News Desk

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