Processing conditions and endpoint temperature effects on development of pink defect without pink-generating ligands in cooked ground turkey breast

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This study was conducted to characterize the pink pigments associated with storing presalted (2%) and ground turkey breast trim at different processing conditions. Four treatments included: treatment (no NaCl, stored for 7 d before being cooked), treatment 2 (NaCl added and stored for 7 d before being cooked), treatment 3 (NaCl added and immediately cooked), and treatment 4 (stored for 7 d before NaCl added and cooked). All treatments were cooked to 4 endpoint temperatures (71.1, 73.9, 76.7, and 79.4°C). Processing conditions affected the pink defect in cooked ground turkey breast. Undenatured myoglobin in salted meat (treatment 2, 3, 4) still remained (17 to 19%) after cooking. Salted and stored ground turkey (treatment 2) produced a cooked product with the most reducing condition (lowest oxidation-reduction potential, ORP) and one of the most red coloration (CIE a* values). Final internal temperature had limited effects on pigment properties. ORP was similar across cooking temperatures but CIE a* values decreased with temperature. Even at 79.4°C, 15% undenatured myoglobin remained. Cooking yield decreased with temperature as expected (92.8 to 89.5%). Results indicate that to limit the degree of the pink color development processors should avoid storage of ground turkey, particularly when mixed with salt, as it favors the formation of nicotinamide-denatured globin hemochrome.

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