Sprayed Lethality In Container (SLIC) is a patent-pending process designed to improve the safety of ready to eat (RTE) processed meat products against foodborne contaminants. But unlike its conventional rivals, SLIC is based on introducing an antimicrobial into the vacuum packaging of the RTE meat products before, or as the product is inserted, using the force of the vacuum to spread the antimicrobial purge.

The SLIC process is simple. Rather than bathing, dipping or spraying, SLIC treats the surface of the meat product. Unlike potassium lactate that is used internally in the product as part of the product’s formulation, chemicals used in SLIC applications (Lauric Arginate) are applied only to the surface. Only a relatively small amount of Lauric Arginate is needed to cover the surface of the product as the vacuum is applied to the package. The limited amount of Lauric Arginate needed in the SLIC process is based on the surface area of the product and not the weight. Antimicrobials such as CytoGuard LA typically deliver less than 500 ppm in the finished product.

Unlike sprays and dips used to apply antimicrobials to meat products, SLIC applications have an almost unlimited time to perform their function. Sprays and dips must work within a matter of seconds, and dwell time is critical. Since the amount of chemical in sprays and dips is always in excess of the amount needed, there is a considerable amount of waste due to drip loss, spillage, evaporation and dilution. By contrast, the SLIC system is not time critical and because there is little chemical usage, waste is virtually non-existentresulting in lower cost to the user. Advanced antimicrobials, once considered too expensive, can now be competitive in SLIC systems. As an additional benefit, because only sparse amounts of chemicals are used in the SLIC process, product flavor is enhanced.

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