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Safety: research programme

Next generation methods for microbiological and chemical food safety

Campden BRI project 144029 (Jan 2018 – Dec 2020)
Member funded

Advances in analytical technologies have resulted in continued development of faster more efficient analytical methods. These allow us either to test more rapidly, with more certainty, or to test for hazards that we have never yet been able to detect. Such methods often come with little real world information or validation data. This project enables a very rapid response to be made to a need for new tests (when a new hazard emerges), or to quickly provide useful information on the practicality of new test systems coming onto the market. The project will assess next generation technologies in microbiological and chemical analysis, enabling access to rapid effective monitoring of food hazards and spoilage issues through novel/improved testing protocols.

Suzanne Jordan
+44(0)1386 842013

Rapid methods for hygiene determination

Campden BRI project 144027 (Jan 2018 – Dec 2019)
Member funded

Many rapid hygiene test systems are already on the market, but limited independent assessment has been carried out to understand their capability and suitability to different environments, contaminant types and production technologies. Systems with the potential for providing an array of real-time information are also starting to appear in the food market, some of them not fully explored yet. Examples include rapid microbial indication, allergen surface residue, DNA detection methods and sensor technologies as ways to indicate or control contamination. The research will look mostly at non-microbiological methodology for identifying hazards present and compare these with known and validated methods that are currently used but take longer. The project will provide members with factual information on how well different rapid methods for testing cleanliness work in real industrial situations.

Craig Leadley
+44(0)1386 842059

Food safety and traceability using protein profiling

Campden BRI project 140913 (Jan 2017 – Dec 2019)
Member funded

Mass spectrometry is widely used in pharmaceutical and food applications, the latter including complex matrices. Proteins and their peptide derivatives are responsible for food allergy, food functionality, nutritional properties (e.g. satiety), and food structure and also can be used for ‘fingerprinting’ of foods. The approach could lead to reliable food safety applications, food fraud control, enhanced product development and efficient nutritional applications. This project will develop confirmatory methods for food allergen testing and the detection of the allergen source, multi-allergen testing methods, and protocols for handling difficult matrices in allergen testing and for the detection and the quantification of selected peptides/proteins.

Reka Haraszi
+44(0)1386 842240

Hygienic design: retrospective modification of existing plant

Campden BRI project 140912 (Jan 2017 – Dec 2018)
Member funded

Building and equipment modifications can be very invasive. They sometimes need to be carried out whilst other parts of the building are continuing to operate. Modifications can increase food safety risks and, if not properly managed or understood, will remain untackled until product failure. With continuous operations happening in the same area, the risks of carrying out these operations have to be closely managed. Food safety related issues that can arise include incorrect drain directed flow, damaged flooring caused by unsuitability, and air systems not being correctly applied. This project will update impartial guidance for carrying out changes in an existing plant, ensuring that hygiene considerations influencing food safety risks are known and correctly managed.

Andrew Bosman
+44(0)1386 842471

BirdEase: an integrated diagnostic system for bacterial detection in poultry farms

Campden BRI project 140724
A collaborative project funded by Innovate UK

The BirdEase Project aims to develop an acousto–optic sensor technology and integrate this into a real–time measuring instrument capable of being placed on farm to continuously monitor the presence of harmful bacteria. The project will culminate in the demonstration of the technology in a commercial broiler farm environment, identifying the levels of campylobacter present and comparing this to accepted laboratory standard results.

Jeremy Davies
+44(0)1386 842255

PouLLS: environmental indicator and animal welfare monitoring sensory system

Campden BRI project
A collaborative project funded by Innovate UK

The aim of PouLLS is to create an all–in–one environmental indicator and animal welfare monitoring sensory system, with wireless data transmitting, analytics, User Interface (UI), early warnings and recommended actions for intensive poultry production units (IPPUs). Implementation will augment existing legislative and industry assurance requirements, providing real–time monitoring and support to mitigate productivity losses associated with current error prone manual methods, increasing welfare levels and creating greater levels of assurance to the consumer through certification. This innovative product is in direct response to growing consumer concerns about animal welfare and consequent health and safety of meat products, which has resulted in increasing regulations affecting IPPU livestock rearing conditions. Producers will be able to balance meeting regulations with increasing production demands.

Jeremy Davies
+44(0)1386 842255

Reducing waste and improving quality in the food supply chain using cold plasma technology as a last decontamination hurdle on the food production line

Campden BRI project 138773 (Aug 2015 – Jul 2018)
Funded by Innovate UK

Cold plasma is an exciting new technology with a proven potential for rapid microbial decontamination of surfaces. A plasma state is generated by applying a high voltage to a gas, transforming it into a cocktail of reactive plasma species, which may have high oxidation potential and therefore considerable food decontamination potential. Prepared produce decontamination is necessary to remove soil, foreign bodies and bacteria (potentially pathogenic) from the food surface but is notoriously difficult to achieve. Moreover, the different decontamination techniques used so far (chlorination, rapid chilling, etc…) are applied on the product before it is packed, meaning that recontamination can occur from further handling prior to packing. This project is using a novel pulsed plasma system to inject plasma species into the food packaging at the point of sealing, thus providing a final decontamination hurdle directly in the pack without further recontamination risk. The objectives of the project are to prove this concept and demonstrate the improved shelf life and safety of a variety of food products (prepared salads, prepared fruit, prepared vegetables).

Danny Bayliss
+44(0)1386 842130

Ensuring the chemical safety of food and drink using non-targeted screening methods

Campden BRI project 138056 (Jan 2016 – Dec 2018)
Member funded

A key requirement for ensuring the safety of food is confidence in its origin and the integrity of its supply chain. A recent example which highlights this is the incident concerning the alleged contamination of spices and presence of nut residues. This resulted in a costly recall to prevent the potentially fatal consequence of undeclared allergens in the products. The incident highlights the importance for companies to follow the recommendations in the Elliot Report. One of the recommendations for food companies was continued surveillance in order to detect further fraud incidents at an early stage. This would provide protection for both food companies (who would lose brand integrity) and consumers. The requirements have been further reinforced by the inclusion in BRCv7 of a need to risk assess and possibly test for authenticity of raw materials. The problem facing many companies is that to be effective in detecting fraudulent activity, a company needs to know what to look for in the material concerned. The project will enable the development of applications for non-targeted screening using a range of techniques.

Danielle Cawdron
+44(0)1386 842022

Risk reduction strategies for chemical contaminants in primary production

Campden BRI project 138054 (Jan 2016 – Dec 2018)
Member funded

Risks to human health associated with chemical contaminants in the food and feed chain are increasing. These are likely to have a direct or indirect impact as hazards to human health. These hazards may arise from the natural environment or from inputs applied at the stage of primary production or during further processing. The control of contaminants in staple foods is especially important given their major contribution to the human diet. This project will help members understand where chemical contaminants originate from and the route by which they contaminate food products during primary production. Factors affecting levels of chemical contaminants in food products are likely to include: growing site history, source of fertiliser/organic manure, soil pH and irrigation water and varietal choice. Guidance will be produced to help members to minimise contaminant levels through agronomic interventions, selection of growing sites and cultivar choice.

Nick Saunders
+44(0)1386 842162