b. Frozen. Meat products that have an internal temperature of less than 0F (-
17.8C) and are stored at less than 0F (-17.8C) are considered frozen.
1-14. CONDITION TERMS
a. General. Condition is a determination that the meat item is fresh and
wholesome and that the packaging and packing is in such condition as to protect the
product during storage and distribution. For all meat items that are purchased for
military use, only meat that is in excellent condition will be considered. The Office of the
Surgeon General has defined excellent condition as "meat that has a degree of
freshness exhibited by meat maintained at an optimum temperature of 32 -40F
(0--4.4C) and normally, the product will not be more than ten days old from the date of
slaughter." However, the final determination of excellent condition shall be based on
product characteristics. The meat should also be firm and dry, and show no evidence of
freezing or storage at temperatures above 40F (4.4C). Small, easily trimmed areas of
darkening, discoloration, or dehydration is allowed. Meat showing moderate or severe
deterioration is not in excellent condition. The veterinary food inspection specialist
performs this inspection by visual, tactile, and olfactory examination.
Normally examination for condition is performed in conjunction with the
b. Bloom. The oxygenation process meat undergoes when exposed to air is
called bloom. It is particularly important in the beef grading process and condition
examination of previously vacuum-packed product.
c. Cryovac. The term utilized for a packaging method. The product is placed in
a heavy-gauged plastic bag. A vacuum is pulled. The bag is then sealed and subjected
to a heat-shrinking process; the bag shrinks to fit tightly against the product. If bone-in
cuts are packaged in a Cryovac bag, a bone protector consisting of a reinforced cloth
strip is placed over the bones to prevent puncture of the plastic bag.
d. Unacceptable Conditions. All red meats, the carcass, wholesale cuts, and
portion-cut items are examined for any abnormalities, such as those listed below:
(1) Dark cutter. A dark cutter has a high pH and low muscle glycogen,
which is the most notable characteristic of dark-cutting beef. It is generally accepted
that dark-cutting beef results from a glycogen deficiency in the muscle at the time of
slaughter. Subjecting cattle to extreme or sustained stress prior to slaughter may cause
this condition. It can be detected only after ribbing down of the carcass; the color of the
lean tissue of the loin can range from a dull, darker red than normal to black and feels
soft and gummy.