A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory has developed a technology to increase the shelf-life of mutton to up to a week without cold storage. Mutton usually remains fresh for only six hours if it is not refrigerated after being cut. It remains fresh for about two days when kept in the fridge. Unused meat is wasted after this period, and the meat industry uses chemical preservatives to prevent this.
Scientists from the animal products division at the Mysuru-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) of DRDO have developed an extract from pomegranate peels, which when injected into the meat, keeps it fresh even if it is left out in the room temperature.
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
The extract works for a week, preventing harmful bacterial action in the meat and retaining its natural flavour.
While the scientists focussed on mutton, the extract will work for chicken and pork meat too. According to DFRL scientists, no technology is available to preserve mutton without using chemical preservation right now. They used the natural edible preservative in their experiment because pomegranate peels are powerful antioxidants with antimicrobial properties.
Consumption of meat that has been attacked by harmful bacteria when kept out of cold storage can lead to abdominal cramps, headache, fever, diarrhoea, etc. DRDO conducted this research to extend the shelf life of meat supplied to Indian Army soldiers posted at the forward posts because it takes a long time for the supply to reach base camps.
The pomegranate peel extract is awaiting technology transfer and has been listed with the DRDO-Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Initiative on Accelerated Technology Assessment & Commercialisation.