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Technical University of Denmark - Articles and news items

Benefit risk assessment of microbial food cultures

Issue 5 2012  •  6 November 2012  •  François Bourdichon, Nestlé Research Centre; Joerg Seifert, International Dairy Federation and Egon Bech Hansen, Technical University of Denmark

Fermentation as a chemical process was initially described in the mid-19th century by Louis Pasteur as ‘a vie sans l’air’, the metabolic process of deriving energy from organic compounds without the involvement of an exogenous oxidising agent. Fermentation, as a process for manufacturing fermented foods, is today used more broadly than the historical definition of fermentation. Fermented foods have been subjected to the action of microorganisms during which desirable biochemical changes occur, causing significant modification to the food matrix2,13.

Fermented foods are typically associated with local and traditional food consumption. The growing body of evidence with regard to microorganisms and their ecological role in the food matrix has led to industrial application of the process of fermentation starting in the early 20th century through use of specific dedicated microbiota with various levels of characterisation.

In recent decades, the use of microbial food cultures (MFC) has come under various regulatory frameworks in many countries, directly or indirectly. Several of these regulatory frameworks put emphasis on ‘the history of use’, ‘traditional food’, or ‘general recognition of safety’ without clear guidelines for the expected level of evidence.

Same-day PCR testing of Salmonellain meat: From research to routine application at slaughterhouses

Issue 3 2011  •  7 July 2011  •  J. Hoorfar, C. Löfström & M.H. Josefsen, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark and F. Hansen & S. Mansdal, Danish Meat Research Institute and J. Andersen, Danish Crown A/S and G. Pedersen, TiCan amba

Due to the very short shelf-life of fresh (especially ground) meat, slaughterhouses benefit from faster screening tests to dispatch Salmonella-free meat as soon as possible after slaughter. An increasing number of European countries require that the meat is tested as free for Salmonella before it is imported. This is currently the case for Sweden and Finland, which have a special agreement with the European Commission for import of fresh meat.

This was the background for collaboration between Danish scientists and the two major Danish slaughterhouses. The research project aimed at reducing the time of testing from 24 – 28 hours (when the project started in 2006) to obtaining results within the same day as the samples are collected. Slaughterhouses have a two shift working day of 16 hours, which makes it feasible to design a faster test, while control laboratories usually have an eight hour working day.


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