Nitrogen factors are used to calculate meat and seafood content (quantitative ingredient declarations-QUID) of products by analysis in order to check recipe calculations and labelling declarations on finished products. They are also still one of the easiest ways to calculate added water by difference. A “nitrogen factor” is the average nitrogen content of a specific cut or whole animal (meat/seafood) usually expressed on a fat free basis.Obtaining nitrogen factors usually requires extensive surveys of analyses of the flesh of meat animals/seafood from particular species as there are usually a large number of variables to take into account (breed/species, gender, age at slaughter, seasonal variation, carcase weight or size, geographical origin, production method, whether raised by aquaculture or caught wild). If all the variables are taken into account, this leads to very large studies and high study costs. By using a number of alternative study designs, including fractional designs and algorithmic optimal designs, the number of samples can be significantly reduced and hence the survey costs with minimal impact on the information gained.
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