Compacting of meat during the ham stuffing process: a new step forward in the automation
With the change in consumer habits of recent years, sliced products have come to represent a higher percentage than individual pieces destined for small retail outlets. This means that many of these products have had to adapt their manufacturing process, working with separated muscles instead of whole hams, and then restructuring them in bar molds in order to have sliceable pieces of higher yield. Consequently, if the individual pieces presented slicing problems, having hams of this type undergo the aggressive action of industrial slicers has done nothing but magnify the problem even further.
Even though there exists a special category of more traditional cooked hams in Central Europe, such as the French Jambon Supérieur or the Italian Prosciutto Cotto di Alta Qualità or Scelto – which in many cases are still made from whole hams molded by hand – attempts have been made repeatedly to vacuum stuff these products automatically, in order to obtain a better compacting of the piece that could reduce the slicing problems and defects typical of these cooked hams, as well as to automate the process.
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