Rapid Bone Content Analysis

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Meat processing plants are constantly faced with the challenge of maximizing the amount of yield per animal in a cost-effective manner, while staying within the USDA guidelines of less than 1% bone content. Mechanically separated meat is no different. CEM has been able to develop a product, the Phoenix™ Bone Content Analyzer, that can provide a rapid and accurate determination of the bone content of a sample without the use of chemicals. When coupled with the ProFat™ Meat Analyzer, it will determine the moisture, fat, protein, and bone content of a given raw meat sample. The information is generated quickly enough to make adjustments to the processing line and further increase the yield. To demonstrate the technology, accurate values were generated for bone content using the Phoenix Bone Content Analyzer, comparable to standard reference values including the USDA method FSIS SOP No: CLG-CAL2.00, “Calcium, Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Determination.”


In order to maximize the yields and remain within the USDA guidelines of mechanically separated products, a precise bone content determination is necessary. Traditional techniques require long digestion and titration times, expensive equipment, and/or out-of-house results; none of which is the best option for a plant in need of a quick and accurate answer in order to make a process control adjustment.
A rapid determination of bone content allows the most efficient adjustment of the mechanical deboning process. Quick feedback tells operators if the screen needs to be adjusted or has become old and needs to be replaced. This information can allow the operator to generate a product that is much closer to the desired specifications than would otherwise be possible when information takes hours or days to generate.
In order to determine bone content, the traditional procedure requires several steps. First, calcium is separated from the rest of the sample, and then either titration or Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) is used to determine the amount of calcium. This number is used to calculate the amount of bone in the sample. Included in the process are factors such as: human error, calculation error, hazardous chemicals, and a significant amount of time. The Phoenix completely eliminates three factors and substantially reduces the fourth.
The Phoenix directly measures the bone content of the sample by burning off any excess organic material, leaving only the bone fragments. The operator takes a sample from the mechanically deboned product, places it into the Phoenix, and starts the heating process; no need for pre-processing, hazardous chemicals, or complicated calculations. Results are available in 30 minutes or less and the bone content is automatically calculated. Quartz fiber crucibles are used in the test, reducing the amount of cool-down time and providing a reusable vessel that is not prone to breakage.