Fermented and smoked foods currently account for 5% of total meat consumption in Europe. Domestic demand is also increasing with a broad range of products available, produced by artisan/micro and multinational food companies, who require predictive models for accurate shelf-life and safety assessment. Fermented and smoked foods are lightly preserved products, susceptible to microbial spoilage. Moreover, as these foods are stored for extended periods and consumed without further processing, they are a potential vehicle for pathogens.
This research aims to deliver shelf-life and safety predictive models for fermented meats, smoked fish, sauerkraut and kefir. 1. To source, collect and collate scientific data and existing predictive models relevant to the prediction of shelf-life and safety of fermented meats and smoked fish. 2. To propose, based on the existing scientific knowledge, models that can describe the competition of microbial growth in fermented products. 3. To build (where required) new mathematical models to predict the microbial shelf-life and safety of fermented foods and smoked fish based on L. monocytogenes, S. aureus and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), heat resistant coliform bacteria and C. botulinum. 4. To contrast the data generated using the predictive models with data using bioreactors and in challenge tests with fermented foods and smoked fish assessing for accuracy and bias. 5. To analyse the microbial, virulence gene expression and physiochemical and sensory data to better inform the shelf-life and safety of fermented foods.
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Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine: