Campus Units

Animal Science

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


68th Annual Reciprocal Meat Conference

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Proceedings of the 68th Reciprocal Meat Conference

First Page


Last Page


Conference Title

68th Annual Reciprocal Meat Conference

Conference Date

June 14, 2015


Lincoln, Nebraska


My “assignment” as part of this discussion of the challenges facing meat processors trying to meet consumer demands for clean labels is to review the critical functional roles of the fundamental non-meat ingredients that are essential for processed meats. The market pressure for shorter, simpler, easier-to-understand ingredient statements is providing considerable motivation for processors to reduce or even eliminate some of the traditional, wellestablished non-meat ingredients. However, the practical applications of many of the traditional non-meat ingredients have been developed and refined as a result of years, decades or even centuries of use, and have clearly evolved to play very critical roles in processed meats. These ingredients comprise the “current toolbox” that provides the fundamental means to produce unique and distinctive processed meat products of various types. Raw, partially cooked, fully cooked, ready-to-eat, fermented, dried, injected, marinated and dry-cured products all derive distinctive properties from use of non-meat ingredients. Further, most of the non-meat ingredients in the current toolbox are used almost universally in processed meats despite the wide variety of products that are produced. These ingredients are analogous to the hammers, saws and tape measure in a carpenter’s toolbox or the screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches in a mechanic’s toolbox. Consequently, because these basic toolbox ingredients play critical roles in processed meats, it is important to remember and understand the importance of these ingredients before changes are made. Change in the use of the basic functional non-meat ingredients is virtually guaranteed to require an alternative ingredient or multiple ingredients, and/or process adjustments to achieve the same or similar finished product properties. Part of the problem of changing the use of these “toolbox” ingredients is not only the critical nature of the roles they play but also because these are all multifunctional ingredients. Because they impact several important properties of processed meats, attempting to reduce or eliminate these ingredients has implications for multiple changes in the product.


This proceeding was published as Sebranek, J.G. 2015. An overview of functional non-meat ingredients in meat processing: The current toolbox. Proc. 68th Reciprocal Meat Conf. pp. 42-46. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

American Meat Science Association



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