WP1: Industry Mapping

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Work package number 1 Start date or starting event: 1
Work package title Assess conditions in the food industry and select parameters to study

Activity Type

 RTD
Participant short name NVI QUB UNIBO IRIS MBORSEN KOHINOOR FR HRES

 

Objectives:

  1. Select quality and safety parameters, ingredients and products to study in the project.   
  2. Develop down scaled model systems for production of selected products to be used in laboratory experiments in WP2 and WP3
  3. Map data and experience from the industry in order to:
  • Identify ingredients, combinations of ingredients, processes and storage conditions with impact on the quality and safety of mixed RTE products and convenient full meals.
  • Map realistic supply chains, process and distribution conditions as well as HACCP systems, among food producing SMEs, and assess how these influence the variation in quality and safety of selected foods for healthy and vulnerable consumers
  • Map which information that is used for decision support by the SMEs today, and categorise the kinds of information that are required for improved decision support in a quality, safety and cost/benefit perspective.
  • Map the variation of quality and safety measures in target ingredient, product, processes and distribution by analyses.

Tasks:

T.1.1 Selection of ingredients, products, processes, and distribution chains, quality and safety parameters to study

T.1.2. Definition of down scaled production processes to be used by the research laboratories.

T.1.3 Survey of experience data among SMEs, their suppliers and customers.

T.1.4 Collection of historical analytical data and performance of new analyses

 

Deliverables:

D.1.1 List of selected parameters to study

D.1.2 Model systems of down scaled selected industrial processes

D.1.3 Survey of experience data related to decision support in quality, safety and cost/benefit perspectives from food business operators.

D.1.4 Collected data from laboratory analyses of ingredients and products, and registration of process parameters. Only data with relevance to the society at large will be included.

Industry Mapping

The companies in STARTEC have willingly shared their competence, challenges and data with the other partners. Researchers and industry people have carried out several “walk and talk visits” along the process lines together. The purpose have been to learn how decisions are made in industry on a daily and strategic basis, to consider which process steps being most critical, and to develop test systems in the lab reflecting industrial production. Different kinds of salads (pasta salads, rice salads, spelt salads, potato salads) and ready to heat (RTH) meal products (lasagna, meatball dinner, fish soup, chicken stew, paella) have been studied.

Some results are:

  • The production of deli salads and ready-to-heat products follows a very complex logistic where different products have to be produced side by side. The process lines have to be more flexible than in e.g. slaughter houses.
  • The production follows strict specifications set up together with the customers.
  • Most decisions are carried out based on experience on the strategic levels by people with special competence. Ad-hoc decisions during the production are avoided as much as possible as the risk of mistakes is too high.
  • The need of decision support is high particularly in case of multidisciplinary dilemmas and tradeoffs, for instance:
    • The need of a high productivity per square meter, leading to a need of precooked materials from other suppliers to save space and time.
    • The customer demand of different products versus the probability of mistakes by differentiated production.
    • The risk of overcooking in some parts and survival of microbes including pathogens in other parts.
    • The need of rapid cooling versus the risk of recontamination from frozen ingredients and cooling equipment.
    • Formulation and preservation of products on the strategic level.
    • Decision support is relevant, particularly if it indicates possible consequences of deviations in a multidisciplinary way, and includes realistic corrective actions under industry conditions. For instance, it is of limited value to suggest that the product should be cooked for four minutes longer or the shelf life be shortened a week if the product will not be accepted in the market after such treatments.

The companies have willingly shared their competence, challenges and data. When studies in the lab have indicated critical steps, e.g heat treatment in microwave oven at customer level, the industry have immediately checked their routines and adapted if needed.

Even though many products and processes are relevant to study, we have chosen to focus more on pasta salads than the other products during the rest of the project. 

Publications

Poster – Skjerdal, T., Tessema, G. T., Fagereng, T.M., and From, C., Decision support tool for producers of advanced ready-to-eat foods to ensure safe, tasty and nutritious products, using formulation of potato salads as an example.

Oral presentation – Skjerdal, T., Mat og zoonoser, nye matvaner, nye retter og nye måter å tilberede maten på. Konsekvenser for mattryggheten og måter å redusere risiko på.

Poster - Tessema G.T., Fagereng T.M., Elin R., and Skjerdal T. Microbiological challenge study: factors affecting target pathogen recovery from food.

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