Scientists in the US have found that grape seed extract is a viable natural alternative to using synthetic ingredients as a means of preserving meat for ready-made frozen and refrigerated meals.

Professor Susan Brewer of the University of Illinois tested several synthetic and natural antioxidants to evaluate their effectiveness in cooked, reheated beef and pork at different concentrations, time lengths and temperatures.

They found that high concentrations of grape seed yielded better results at preserving meat than synthetic ingredients such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). No added flavour was detected, the scientists said.