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Innovative approaches for identifying a mechanically separated meat: evaluation of radiostrontium levels and development of a new tool of investigation

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Due to food safety concerns, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asked to identify useful parameters for identifying the mechanically separated meat (MSM). In this work, the 90Sr levels of MSM products were assessed for evaluating the suitability of this parameter for MSM identification. Indeed, this contaminant may accumulate in animal bones and bone fragments may be present in MSM. One hundred samples of fresh meats and meat products composed of different MSM percentages and without MSM were analyzed by ultra-low-level liquid scintillation counting. The 90Sr activity concentrations detected in meat products with high percentage of MSM were significantly higher (p ≥ 0.05) (0.099 Bq kg−1) than those of fresh meats (0.024 Bq kg−1) and meat products containing low percentage of MSM (0.011 Bq kg−1). The percentage of correct MSM identification was 61%. In order to increase this percentage and to develop a new tool of investigation, the 90Sr was elaborated in combination with other three parameters: 88Sr, Ca and ash percentage, through a multivariate approach. The precision of this tool of investigation was significantly increased (87%), higher than the reference method (Ca level) (76%), representing a valid novel approach in the identification of MSM products.

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This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Health who funded the Project code GR-2013-02358862. Dr. Nicola Bortone, Dr. Rita Damiano, Dr. Esther De Simone, Mr. Michele Nicolini and Mr. Rosario Accettulli, (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Puglia e della Basilicata, Foggia, Italy) are gratefully acknowledged for technical assistance.


This work was funded by the Italian Ministry of Health (Grant Number GR-2013-02358862).

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Correspondence to Marco Iammarino.

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Iammarino, M., Miedico, O., Petrella, A. et al. Innovative approaches for identifying a mechanically separated meat: evaluation of radiostrontium levels and development of a new tool of investigation. J Food Sci Technol 57, 484–494 (2020).

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  • Bone fragments
  • Food safety
  • Liquid scintillation counting
  • Mechanically separated meat
  • Principal component analysis
  • Radiostrontium