Improving shelf-life and ensuring quality in food using new technologies -development project
The project is funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland.
Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo
Guaranteeing food safety is a key objective for both companies and authorities. Food safety is also of great interest to consumers. In line with trends, consumers are seeking natural food without food additives, whilst not forgetting the quality and preservation of food. From the point of food companies view, extended selling times could be achieved by means of a variety of conservation methods. However, these methods often change the structure of foodstuffs or other sensory properties. Different types of pasteurisations and other heating treatments will transform the food into a more processed and, for example, the use of preservatives, albeit increasing food safety, does not meet the consumer’s desire for natural foodstuffs. However, better food storage allows longer shelf-life and contributes to the export of food.
A new method of ensuring food safety is high pressure processing (HPP). It is a refrigeration method with the advantage of its suitability for handling many types of food. In the treatment of HPP, microbes in food are destroyed by pressure, without heat treatment. This weakens only a bit of the original nutrient content and organoleptic properties in treated foods. Another method of preserving food is the use of the short wavelengths of light, the blue light’, for the storage of food. According to previous results, it has been suggested in the literature that the blue wavelength of the visible light has intensified the concentration of phenolic compounds and modified the flavour of certain plants, such as Chinese cabbage, to less bitter. The blue light has also been found to inhibit the growth of food poisoning in the surface of fresh cut mango. However, further studies are required for a number of factors, the optimum wavelengths of the most effective light, the time needed to reduce the exposure to microbial levels and the effects of the light on the microbiological, chemical (nutrient) and sensory quality of the various foodstuffs.
The objective of the project is to identify the suitability of the new treatment methods described above in order to guarantee food quality and longer shelf life. In addition, the project explores ways to improve food traceability and identifies the need for analysis services and the possibilities for conceptualisation to support food product development. In the form of microbiological, sensory and nutritional analyses of the project, new methods of food may be used to determine longer selling times, which will contribute to the wider distribution ad promotion of food. The main result of the project is the development of the competitiveness of enterprises and the promotion of food exports, which can be achieved by exploring the preservation of food by new methods, ensuring the microbiological and organoleptic quality and traceability of raw materials and finished products and materials. The service concept aims to improve the availability of analysis services.
Group members - UEF
Jenni Korhonen University Lecturer , School of Medicine, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition