With the rise of plant-based meats in the market, the team at Columbia Labs has compiled key considerations for safety and quality testing:
- Plant-based ingredients have different levels and forms of macronutrients than their animal counterparts
- Carbohydrates in milk is lactose, in meat is glycogen and in pea its soy.
- These different components affect spoilage rates.
- Test for nutrient compositions and product-specific shelf life.
- The variety of ingredients making up in plant-based foods can bring different microbial loads.
- This includes ingredients with high micro loads such as yeast extract and spices.
- The U.S. recommendations governing best practices for plant-based foods and animal-based meats differ (FDA and USDA, respectively).
- Temps of 145-165°F was shown to kill Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens at equal rates in beef- and plant-based burgers
- This suggests cooking guidance for animal products could be applicable to plant-based analogs.
- Environment and processing technologies must be considered for contaminant introduction
- Ground or formed products (i.e. products with additional handling) will have higher microbial counts than “cut” products.
- Ingredients are often tested for antimicrobial and ingredient efficacy and product shelf-life in a lab environment. This may not correctly mimic the specific production environment factors that are impacting a plant-based meat alternative’s ability to meet its shelf-life and safety goals.
- Environmental Monitoring testing is recommended for all food manufacturing processes.
For more information on testing plant-based meat alternatives, micro contaminants and environmental monitoring, please email: email@example.com