Vascular Rinsing and Chilling Carcasses Improves Meat Quality and Food Safety: A Review
Received: Mar 17, 2022; Revised: Apr 11, 2022; Accepted: Apr 12, 2022
Published Online: May 10, 2022
Rinse & Chill<sup>®</sup> technology (RCT) entails rinsing the vasculature using a chilled isotonic solution (3ºC; 98.5% water and a blend of dextrose, maltose, and sodium phosphates) to rinse out the residual blood from the carcass. Infusion of pre-chilled solutions into intact animal carcasses immediately upon exsanguination is advantageous in terms of lowering the internal muscle temperature and accelerating chilling. The primary purposes of the technology are to enhance blood removal, facilitate carcass chilling, and optimize pH decline, all of which enhance meat quality and safety. Although RCT solution contains some substrates, the pre-rigor muscle is still physiologically active at the time of early postmortem and vascular rinsing. Consequently, these substrates are fully metabolized by the muscle, leaving no detectable residues in meat. The technology has been commercially approved and in continuous use since 2000 in the United States and since 1997 in Australia. As of January 2022, 23 plants have implemented RCT among the 5 countries (Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, Japan) that have evaluated and approved RCT. All plants are operating under sound Sanitation Standard Operation Procedures (SSOP) and a sound Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program. No food safety issues have been reported associated with the use of this technology. Rinse & Chill<sup>®</sup> technology has been adapted by the meat industry to improve product safety and meat quality while improving economic performance. Therefore, this review summarizes highlights of how RCT technically works on a variety of animal types (beef, bison, pork, and lamb).