The volatile profile of raw beef contains vital information related to meat quality and freshness. This qualitative study examines the effect of packaging system on the formation and release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from raw beef over time, relative to the packaging best before date (BBD). The three packaging systems investigated were modified atmospheric packaging, vacuum packaging, and cling-wrapped packaging. Porterhouse steak samples with the same BBD were analysed from 3 days before to 3 days after the BBD. VOCs were detected via preconcentration using solid-phase microextraction combined with gas chromatography–accurate mass quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In total, 35 different VOCs were tentatively identified. Interestingly, there was no clear relationship of the VOCs detected between the three packaging systems, with only carbon disulphide and acetoin, both known volatiles of beef, detected in all three. This is the first study to investigate the effects of commercial packaging systems on VOC formation; it provides an understanding of the relationship of VOCs to the BBD that is essential for the development of on-pack freshness and quality sensors.
- Meat quality
- Raw beef