NFOK15013U Meat Technology and Packaging

Volume 2015/2016

MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology


– How meat is handled as a fresh product – Innovation oriented approach

Knowledge of how production processes interact and affect end-product quality is important in order to be able to optimise high-quality meat production in a continuously changing industry with changing consumer preferences. Meat technology in the present course is emphasizing the understanding of the conversion of muscle to meat and on the fabrication of carcasses into primal and retail cuts.

The course emphasis is on aspects of factors in the complex meat production chain, which affect end-product quality of the raw material meat. The main focusing of the course will be on the meat technology elements slaughter and pre- and post-slaughter handling, as well as carcass chilling, cutting, deboning and carcass classification. Furthermore, other topics influencing meat quality along the meat production chain will also be mentioned and discussed. This includes meat production on farm level, including feeding, and animal transport, ageing and meat safety, which will be discussed in the context of producing consistent/uniform and safe meat of high quality. Furthermore, the influence of pre-, postnatal muscle growth and development, growth factors, and muscle/meat structure, including muscle fibre types, muscle proteins, connective tissue on meat quality, will also be discussed.

The course will also provide students with an understanding of principal eating quality attributes of meat, including texture/tenderness, water-holding capacity, colour and flavour. How quality is defined, as well as measured and the many factors affecting its variability along the whole production chain will be examined.

The course will also examine variations in fresh meat quality with substantial implications in subsequent industrial processing of meat. The course provides a background to understand the biological and technological basis of how meat quality is understood and controlled to provide optimal high quality fresh meat and also meat as a raw material for processed foods.

The course is also focusing on packaging of fresh meat, especially how different atmospheres (air, gas mixtures, vacuum, etc.) surrounded the meat can influence quality attributes. Also, how packaging can protect meat and meat products from undesirable impacts on quality will be discussed. Furthermore, material properties, intelligent packaging, active packaging, will also be mentioned.

Learning Outcome

Learning Outcome

The course will be of benefit for all food science students aiming of a detailed understanding of fresh meat quality. It is also aims to give an insight in in how this understanding can be of importance in relation to innovation and development of novel meat based foods. The main objective of the course is to educate students in processes associated with slaughtering and fresh meat production. In addition, a sound background will be provided in what constitutes 'meat quality', both from the producers and consumers point of view and in the post-mortem events, which lead to the final quality of meat as well as packaging for fresh meat.

After completing the course the students will be able to:


- Show overview of knowledge on fresh meat properties and meat structure and the chemical changes behind the quality changes occurring during storage of meat.
- Describe how animal transport, pre-slaughter handling and slaughter process affect the fresh meat quality.
- Demonstrate an understanding of current theories of the background of the sensory properties of meat, meat texture, meat colour and the water-holding capacity.
- How different atmospheres and technologies used for packaging of meat can influence quality attributes.


- Understand the principles of the methods used to assess fresh meat quality.
- Perform laboratory work and handle selected techniques and methods applied in meat science.
- Structure reports and handle the literature in a correct manner.
- Apply the literature and communicate knowledge about fresh meat quality.
- Reflect upon own development and ability to see opportunities and the potential for students professional competences in entrepreneurship and innovation.


- Make judgement of the ethical problems concerning animal welfare and meat production.
- Cooperate with fellow students about solving problems in relation to meat quality.
- Work independently in the final project and define the problem.
- Discuss fundamental knowledge of fresh meat quality, and evaluate how the complex chain of primary production affect end-product quality.
- Suggest and decide how to pack fresh meat.

Lawrie’s Meat Science, 7th edition, 2006 by Lawrie & Ledward, Elsevier.

Compendium of lecture notes is provided.

Qualifications corresponding to course LKEB10077U Biochemistry 1
Qualifications corresponding to course NFOB14014U Quality of Raw Food Material
Lectures, laboratory exercises, project work and excursions. Theoretical aspects are covered in lectures and tutorials on selected topics, many of which involve students reading and interpreting original literature. Practical aspects of the course take the form of extended exercises designed to show the interactions of several factors and demonstrations of current research techniques in meat science. Cases are presented as problem-based learning exercises where students must define many aspects of the approach used to answer the questions posed. The objectives of the project work is for the student to obtain skills in using the knowledge from different disciplines and lectures in analysing factors of importance for meat quality.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Exam Preparation
  • 15
  • Excursions
  • 24
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Practical exercises
  • 55
  • Preparation
  • 83
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Exam registration requirements

Approved laboratory practical reports

All aids allowed

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computer, tablet or mobile phone CANNOT be brought along to the exam. Books and notes should be brought on paper or saved on a USB key.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Missing practical reports have to be handed in and approved prior to the reexamination.

If 10 or less are registered for the re-examination, the exam will be oral.

Criteria for exam assesment

Fullfilment of the learning outcomes