Food and drink quality - research projects
Two new research projects, amongst those that you recently voted for, will focus on aspects of product quality:
The "Cereals methods" project will evaluate and make available a range of core analytical methods for cereals-based materials. The quality and safety of these is crucial to the cereal, baking and brewing sectors as well as many others. Analytical methods are a major component of assuring quality and safety, and their development, trialling, standardisation and validation is a vital part of this. Cereals may be processed into the main ingredient (e.g. malt, flour) in products such as beer, breads, and biscuits, or as an ingredient in products such as soups, drinks, batter, and crumb coated foods.
"Shelf-life plus" will look at ways to enhance shelf-life evaluation using microbial population profiling. Microbiological shelf-life targets are limited to a few select species or groups of microorganisms that are listed in microbiological criteria and for which there are established agar-based methods. However, other, less easy to detect but potentially important microbial groups, which may have a large impact on the consumer acceptability characteristics of a food, will never be observed. Modern molecular methods (e.g. gene sequencing) could provide a more holistic approach to profiling microbial populations, and so more meaningful shelf-life determinations.