When the semidry sausage has been fermented, smoked, cooked, and chilled, it is ready for distribution to consumers. However, to prevent weight losses and product contamination, a good packaging system is necessary. Clear, high-barrier films are the most common packaging material because they provide good product viewing and, with high oxygen and water barriers, will prevent color losses, flavor deterioration and weight losses. Vacuum packaging is a very effective approach and one that will also prevent surface growth of aerobic molds on semidry sausages. Gas-flush systems are becoming increasingly popular in cases where vacuum packages result in moisture accumulation (purge) on the product surface. In these packaging systems, an inert gas, most often nitrogen, is used to fill the packages after the air and oxygen has been removed. The result is a highly stable product environment that results in very little moisture loss from the product. Gas-flush packages also minimize the product shape distortion that often results from the vacuum systems.
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