Improving the security and trust in the UK supply chain by combining modern food testing and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies)
In the current scene of the global food supply and production, it is becoming increasingly challenging to detect sophisticated fraud, to tackle food processing problems and to meet consumers' elevated requirements of quality and safety. An example of this is the recent string of events and mass media coverage that has severely damaged the trust of consumers in safety of the Food Supply Chain in the UK and the rest of Europe. There is therefore a need of developing intelligent information systems, based on machine learning, artificial intelligence and pattern recognition, as well as integrating software and hardware in solving some key food science related problems such as detecting adulteration and geographical origin (e.g. oils) and automating food process control.
Current methods to authenticate foods are based on laboratory analyses or processing control requires heavy and expensive instrument or manual labour. By applying pattern recognition methods, food properties can be estimated accurately under complex scenarios, which would otherwise require time-consuming and often expensive analytical testing. In this project we aim to explore the applicability of signal processing and pattern recognition techniques in order to develop software useful in tackling food authenticity, safety and security problems. Moreover, communication and mobile technologies have yet to find its way in areas like food processing and control, which creates even more opportunities if appropriate software is embedded into low-cost devices.
Some outcomes to be explored in this PhD are: a) software tools that help with calibration and analysis of complex chromatography, spectroscopic and other signals to verify authenticity of specific foods, based on machine learning and pattern recognition techniques, b) development of next generation searchable databases with food authenticity data to fight global food fraud, c) the proof-of-concept use of low-cost mobile computer and communication technologies, such as RFID, in food processing and processing control including decision making.
The successful applicant for this project will be awarded a DEL studentship.
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