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Can meat production and processing be sustainable?

By: , Posted on: September 11, 2018

Sustainability is a concept reflecting the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This approach is becoming a major item for the food industry worldwide for a simple reason: resources are depleted and demand grows.

Meat industry is one of the less environmental friendly sectors of food production and therefore increasing attention towards sustainability have stimulated companies to reconsider their management policy and face problems that have been ignored for many decades.

The urgent need for sustainability within the meat industries has turned the interest of research to investigate the handling of their resources with another perspective to adapt more profitable options. Subsequently, there is a need for a new book addressing the latest demands of the meat industry.

Sustainable meat production and processing presents current solutions to promote industrial sustainability and best practices in meat production, from postharvest to consumption.

Chapter 1 deals with practical agricultural and animal welfare sustainability, as well as with principles for commercial supply chain managers of livestock and poultry. An effective commercial animal welfare assessment system should have third party independent audits, internal farm audits by the producer, and audits by the corporate staffs who are buying the animal products. Chapter 2 discusses current trends of meat consumption around the global, as well as sustainable production strategies and processing systems for the future, covering aspects from farm to fork.

Chapter 3 covers functional ingredients and additives that are commonly used in processed meat products in order to retain moisture and modify texture. Mechanisms of action, current market challenges toward sustainability, health and consumer perception are discussed for each of the main techno-functional ingredients categorized (sodium chloride, phosphates, carbonates and citrates, starches and flours, vegetable proteins, hydrocolloids and vegetable fibers, dairy and egg proteins).

Chapter 4 reviews the current state of the art of the different technologies that can be applied to recover proteins from meat processing co-products, as well as from other secondary processing streams from meat processing, for potential food applications. In Chapter 5, blood, which is one of the main co-products of the meat industry, is discussed as a potential and sustainable source of techno-functional proteins. Considerations such as the generated volumes, the economic viability of its industrial use, main fractions (e.g. proteins) that can be extracted, most relevant functionalities and current commercial uses are analysed.

Chapter 6 discusses the insights concerning plant based-meat analogues, their production and future developments. In Chapter 7, the application of membrane technology for recovery purposes is addressed and summarized, displaying a clear prospect for protein separation from meat processing co-products. Furthermore, an outlook is provided concerning the potential post-application of the solutes.

Chapter 8 presents the valorization of co-products and demands from the food industry, especially in the development of high added-value compounds like bioactives and nutraceuticals, as well as feed and pet food uses. Other applications of inedible by-products like chemical, pharmaceutical and energy applications are discussed, too.

Chapter 9 discusses existing and alternative packaging solutions, with an ultimate goal of denoting weaknesses and opportunities to improve sustainability efficiency of the meat manufacturing sector. Replacement of conventional energy-intensive meat processes with innovative and non-thermal technologies provides another potential to reduce energy consumption, reduce production costs, and improve the sustainability of meat production.

In Chapter 10, four technologies (high pressure and shockwave high pressure pulsed electric fields and ohmic heating) different market state of emergence are briefly reviewed, indicating different limitations and highlighting problems solving via improvements of technology readiness levels and further equipment development. The research and potential use of antioxidants (synthetic, nature-identical and natural) in fresh and processed meat are described in Chapter 11. The most important potentially cytotoxic substances in meat related to meat oxidation are classified and studies on the effect of the use of natural antioxidants on reducing their levels are reviewed.

Finally, Chapter 12 discusses consumer evaluations of food products that incorporate ingredients derived from offal’s that have been produced through a range of food processing technologies. It highlights that trial by curious consumers is not sufficient and therefore interventions by different stakeholders will be required to enhance capability and motivation of consumers to change their behavior to incorporate such products into their diets.

Conclusively, the book fills the existing literature gap by providing certain solutions for industrial sustainability in spite of meat processing, production, co- and by-products management. It is a guide for all meat and animal scientists, technologists, researchers and engineers trying to optimize industrial performance and reduce environmental impact.

It offers details for all kind of professionals who work in the meat industry and are seeking to improve their by- and co-products management by actively utilizing respective streams in effective applications.

It is a helpful reference book for producers, larger companies or companies supplying devices to meat industry. Finally, it could be used as a textbook and ancillary reading in graduate and post-graduate level multi-discipline courses of meat and animal science, as well as of food, environmental and bioresource technology.

Visit and use discount code STC317 at checkout to pre-order your copy and save up to 30%!

Over the last years, Food Waste Recovery Group has organized a series of activities (webinars, workshops, courses etc) and published books dealing with issues of sustainable food systems, innovations in the food industry, food waste recovery and non-thermal processing, as well as functional food ingredients like polyphenols.  

Charis M. Galanakis is an interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry, and academia. He has established the “Food Waste Recovery” term and discipline with an ultimate goal to inspire related professionals to extract high added-value compounds from wasted by-products in all stages of food production (from agriculture to the consumer) and re-utilize them in the food chain. He is the coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria) and R&I director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece). He serves as an expert evaluator/monitor of international and regional funded programs and proposals (Horizon 2020 etc). He is an editorial board member of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International, and he has edited 12 books with Elsevier. See his full portfolio of books here. Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakisLinkedIn or ResearchGate.
Join the Food Waste Recovery Group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook. ORCID: 0000-0001-5194-0818 email:

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Food Science & Nutrition

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