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Histology for detecting gelling agents, thickeners and stabilisers in meat-based products
Food additives listed in Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008, and falling within codes E400 and E500, are used in the food industry for their gelling, thickening and stabilising properties. From a chemical point of view, they are polysaccharides and are intentionally used as additives due to their ability to form a three-dimensional network that retains considerable amounts of water, hence improving the product’s consistency. The same additives are also utilised for their stabilising properties as a technological support in the production of flavourings for the meat industry. In this case, their presence in the end product is not indicated on the label.
The new histological method at Laemmegroup involves fixing the sample in formalin, dehydrating and embedding the sample in paraffin wax and the final process of microtome cutting into 4-5 µm sections. From each sample, 5 slides are made in order to sequentially perform 5 different colours to which different compositional elements are associated. Above (photo slider) are a few pictures of real examples.
This type of analysis is qualitative and the different possible measurands are indicated in Table 1. Those measurands can hardly be detected simultaneously if another analytical technique is used. This analysis does not provide the exact identification of a single specific substance. It indeed identifies, even in small traces, the presence of gelling agents, thickeners and stabilisers in meat-based products.
The analysis is also helpful to verify the correspondence between the ingredients indicated on the label and the actual composition of the products, and to perform a qualitative evaluation of the product.
The Laemmegroup Laboratory is the first in Italy to carry out this type of analysis.
For more information on this topic, please contact Chiara Mulasso - firstname.lastname@example.org
About Laemmegroup S.r.l.:
Laemmegroup is a service company that operates laboratories specialised in the analysis of foodstuffs, animal feed, and water destined for human consumption. Through the use of the most current technologies, we carry out analyses for all of the agri-food production industries.
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