Production characteristics and safety parameters of Sremska ham
A b s t r a c t: Sremska ham is a traditional dry-cured meat product manufactured by salting, smoking and drying pork hams in a mainly natural environment. The traditional production process of cured ham in Srem region (Vojvodina, Serbia) is standardized and adjusted to good manufacturing and good hygiene practice procedures. Quality parameters for Sremska ham are well defined, and include mass, ripening time, flavour etc., in order to attain product with standardized and well recognized quality. Sremska ham is produced from pork meat obtained from healthy, well rested, late maturing animals, mass 120 to 150kg. Hams are dry salted and the process itself lasts for 4 to 6 weeks depending on the ham mass. Meat selection based on pH is of great importance in order to achieve proper salt diffusion in ham. Salt diffusion occurs in the desired manner only if the pH of the meat is less than 6.0. Biohazards which can occur during the production of Sremska ham are Clostridium botulinum spores, if conditions for their germination and toxin production exist, mycotoxin producing moulds, and infestation by insect larvae. Those hazards can be eliminated or reduced by maintaining a low temperature during the critical production stages and ensuring sufficient salt content to inhibit C. botulinum growth. Moulds and insects are controlled by maintaining appropriate storage conditions. The manufacturing process of Sremska ham should be based on HACCP principles, while preserving the traditionality of the process.