Losing Meat Identity and DNA Based Detection

Different meat types can be easily distinguished from each other when raw. One of the most prominent and easily identifiable features is color. Chicken is white, pork is pale red (pinkish) and beef is dark red.

The next two prominent characteristics come into play when the meat are cooked, the texture and flavor. Chicken is the softest, followed by pork, and the beef being the toughest. Each has its own unique flavor after application of simple processing methods, frying, sauteing, broiling and boiling. Anyone can identify it easily by using the sense of taste.

Then, the combinations of following techniques make the difference in between meat blur, to a point in which identification and differentiation is near to impossible.

1) Comminuting. Fine grinding.
2) Drying.  Driving away moisture that also takes away essential flavors and nutrients.
3) Addition of colors. Examples are tocino and corned beef.
4) High temperature treatment. Pressure canning, boiling.
5) Shredding. Cutting to chunks and separating the strands. Common example is corned beef.
6) Powdering. The combination of items 1 and 2. Instant cooking mixes.
7) Addition of too many flavors, either natural or artificial. As of date, foods with less than five items as ingredients are rare finds.
8) Mixing with other meat types.  Another meat types can be hidden if mixed with other types or larger amounts, carabeef and horse meat are popular beef replacement.

Example products:

1) Instant meat flavors in cubes or powder.
2) Hotdogs, sausages and reformed hams
3) meat patties
4) kikiam, meat balls and veggie balls
5) shredded meat such as corned beef

When a certain meat looses its identity or intentionally processed to deceived customers, there is still a way to detect fake and adulterated products and penalize the culprits. It is the DNA testing. Here are some infos.

DNA testing has a superior detection limit and has almost 100% specificity. It involves PCR or polymerase chain reaction. Sections of DNA samples or primers  are bound to specific DNA and are copied million of times until sufficient amount is gathered for comparison with the known standard. (www.foodprocessing.com.au)

DNA is a double helix  structure. It is much like a zipper that could be easily separated but more difficult to destroy. Denaturation temperature is over 200 ° F (near boiling point). Actual destruction start when these reach the stomach where acids and enzymes break the bonds, thus converting DNA (proteins) to its components amino acids. (askville.amazon.com)

Eurofins is offering meat species testing, the DNA testing of meat products entering the UK. The main purpose of testing is detection of products with undeclared meat ingredients and help suppressed the ongoing meat adulteration scandal where beef products were found to have undeclared horse meat. Real-Time PCR and DNA Sequencing are done on beef, pork, goat, sheep, horse, turkey and chicken meat. (eurofins.co.uk)

MAGIS 2.0 | Machine For Determining Double Dead Meats And Other Improperly Handled Meats

Animal raisers and meat traders continue to sell double dead meats in spite of strict authority’s eye. I wonder if implementation is really strict. Maybe a heavy punishment is going to help.

In order to facilitate the seizing of badly slaughtered meats, ten high school students of Dr. Yanga’s College, Bocaue Bulacan invented the MAGIS Version 2.0 or Meats Anti-germ Inspection Solution. Students who invented the flood detector machine also came from this college. [courtesy of tv5]

The machine was made of stainless steel, aluminum and acrylic plastic. Equipped with a color and temperature sensor. Any with a higher temperature value than expected will be rejected and declared as unsafe for human consumption. Similar technique applies to color sensor, any meat with deviating color will be rejected.

I hope the machine was designed to handle various meat types, not only pork. Beef, pork, chicken, mutton, veal and others have different color characteristics.

I think the invention is useful for a continuous in-line inspection or the 100 percent inspection of meats  in large factories. For random home and market inspection, a simple thermometer for determining temperature is very handy and any unwanted color can be seen with naked eye. The temperature sensor is useless when meat is previously chilled.

Adding an odor sensor is going make the machine more useful. Odor is a good spoilage indicator. Human nose can tell bad smelling meats but an electronic nose is far more sensitive and accurate.

The student inventors are going to United States to participate in the World Lego League this coming April. Good luck!

Reasons not to Eat Dog Meat

Dog is one of the meats I do not want to eat. Here are the reasons:

1) It is against the law. Eating of animal pets and  wildlife is against the law. Dog is one of them. Fine and imprisonment awaits for violators.

2) Dogs are greedy, eating human poop. They did is yuck, eating human poop and other decomposing animals. Feces is the main source of Escherichia coli – diarrhea causing microorganisms. One of the popular dog recipe is the kinilaw, raw skin and entrails soaked in vinegar sauce.

3) Dogs are man’s best friend. Why eat meat  from your own friend. In most cases, the meat would not come from your dog, but it is still a dog meat, meat from man’s best friend.

4) Worms,  I never know whether it is true or not. Some people say that dog meat has lots of small worms. Worms that are very resistant to heat. It will surely get inside your body alive. The worms can be observe by placing fresh banana leaves over raw meat for a while.

dog under the car

When the Meat Cube / Powder is Meatier than Real Meat

The viand was tinola. I hurriedly went to dining to table to eat. I sipped some soup. The taste was so good. After several scoop, all I got were papaya slices and soup. No chicken meat?

Mom said, “Sorry, the chicken escaped!”

I got it. It was a tinola with no chicken meat. She probably used a chicken cube or powder to mimic the taste of a real chicken.cube

In case a recipe requires one kilogram of meat, the cook should buy one kilo. Reducing the amount will result to reduced taste quality, unless all other ingredients will be reduced too. A commercially prepared meat cube or powder can replace what it loss. In most cases, complete meat absence does not make any difference. Except the fact the there is no meat.

Which is meatier? A real meat or a commercially prepared cube / powder? How can a fake be meatier the real?

A commercially prepared cooking mix is a heavily processed product with various amounts of natural and artificial ingredients. Perhaps it is more than 50% artificial. Extracting meat flavor from real meat and concentrating it to a small package would be costly. One sachet would cost more than one kilo of real.

An artificial can really be more delectable than natural. Anything with an exceptional taste should be eaten in moderation or should not be eaten at all.

300 Kilograms of Double Dead Meats, Botcha, Seized at Ilaya Recto

We heard a lot about widespread sales of botcha or the double dead meat. Hog raisers are still selling dead pigs, usually those that died from illness. The action is taken in attempt to salvage the injected capital and prevent losses. Imagine the cost of a 60-kilogram pig.

To attract buyers, botcha meat are usually sold at lower price or processed to our favorite meat products such as litson, longanisa, tocino and other unlabeled products.botcha at divisoria

Eating such meat pose health hazards. Authorities are monitoring its illegal sales. However, many businessman are still selling hot meat. This action has a light punishment, imprisonment or a fine of not more than 10,000 pesos.

In a exclusive report of TV Patrol, members of Manila Veterinary Inspection Board seized another batch of illegal meats:

Almost 300 kilograms of double dead meats, botcha, were confiscated at Ilaya Recto before it arrived for dispatch at Divisoria Market. Manila Veterinary Inspection Board stated that the said meat are dirty and have no inspection certificate from National Meat Inspection Commission.

Double dead meat signs are very evident on meats. Meat color is dark red with black spots due to improper removal of blood. Meats are dirty and the way of packaging is very unsanitary.

Authorities failed to capture the owner of double dead meat. The pedicab driver stated that the dealer asked him to deliver the bunch of meat to Divisoria Market. Hmm….

Seized meat will buried underground immediately. This is the second incidence of caught botcha transaction in Divisoria.

Authorities should monitor this place regularly. Divisoria might be a regular botcha marketplace.

image courtesy of abs-cbn news

Is It Ok To Cook Spoiled Meat

My auntie told me that they threw away almost two kilograms of chicken meat. Uncle left the meat in basket. He forgot to place it inside the refrigerator. They discovered the forgotten meat the day after. The meat was already emitting bad smell, spoiled. chicken meat illustrations

It is hard to earn money nowadays. She tried to save the expensive meat by washing it. The smell was gone after thorough washing. Hoping the meat was still good, she tried to cook it. After a couple of minutes the meat started emitting bad smell again. She decided to threw away the meat. Eating it could bring hazard and more expenses.

The same situation happened to me and my friend when I was still in college. We tried to save the meat that we left unrefrigerated for one day.

Lesson learned. Never try to cooked or eat spoiled meat. Thorough washing might removed bad smell but the spoiled state of the meat cannot be reverted. Cooking will make the foul odor more intense.