Food Safety Tips for "Formed Meat"
There have been recent media reports concerning the food safety of "formed meat" in the market. What is "formed meat" and can it be consumed safely?
"Formed meat" refers to meat products which may give the impression that they are made of a whole piece of meat, but actually made by binding and pressing products derived from cut, sliced or minced meat together with the use of appropriate food additives (e.g. phosphates), food enzymes (e.g. transglutaminase), etc. These additives and enzymes have been evaluated and determined to be safe by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and/or national food safety authorities such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
During the production process, the inner part of "formed meat" may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Hence, "formed meat" should be cooked thoroughly for safe consumption.
The trade should indicate on the label if a food product is a "formed meat" and provide appropriate storage and cooking instructions to minimise microbiological risk and ensure food safety.
Consumers are advised to store "formed meat" in refrigerator or freezer. "Formed meat" should be cooked thoroughly before consumption. Inner part of the cooked meat should not be red in colour and meat juice should run clear.