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Safety and shelf-life of reformulated food products

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 12, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Food Reformulation has been defined as the “reduction of the amount of negative nutrients in (processed) foods such as energy, salt, saturated (and trans) fat and sugar”. The World Health Organisation recently challenged the private sector to improve the food supply and reduce levels of energy density, trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugar in their products. Therefore, food reformulation has been high on the agenda of public health communities, governments and food companies. But this trend has raised the question of whether food safety and healthy nutrition are compatible (Walls et al., 2019).
Concern about microbiological stability and safety of reformulated food is a challenge for the Food Technology as adjusting recipes is risky. In 1989, there was a large foodborne outbreak of botulism due to contaminated hazelnut yoghurt. This was due to insufficient thermal treatment and the replacement of sugar by aspartame. This case illustrates the dangers of changing a traditional formulation.
Therefore, we teamed up the food engineering and food safety groups together to produce novel reformulated food as well as investigate their safety. Currently, we achieved reduced-fat and low-fat mayonnaise, reduced-fat and reduced-sugar chocolate and reduced-salt bread and are working to extend the variety of the product.
In this project, we will measure and control the key parameters such as pH, water content, water activity, process/storage humidity-temperature. Furthermore, we will investigate the Safety (microbial growth) and Shelf-life (microbial stability) of the reformulated foods. We will also explore the possibility of using hurdle technology to produce even higher quality food while ensuring its safety.
Informal enquiries should be sent to Dr Taghi Miri (). The successful applicant will be required subsequently to submit a standard application to the University.

Funding Notes

MIBTP is a BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership between the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University. More details are available at View Website
View Website (Sustainable Agriculture and Food Theme)


Walls, H., Baker, P., Chirwa, E. and Hawkins, B. (2019) 'Food security, food safety & healthy nutrition: are they compatible?', Global Food Security.
Evanuarini, H., Nurliyani, I. and Hastuti, P. (2015) 'Characteristic of Low Fat Mayonnaise Containing Porang Flour as Stabilizer', Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 14(7), pp. 392-395.
Gurtler, J.B., Doyle, M.P. and Kornacki, J.L. (2014) The microbiological safety of low water activity foods and spices. Springer.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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