Gerard Downey - Articles and news items
Issue 1 2009 • 20 February 2009 • Gerard Downey, Principal Research Officer, Teagasc, Ashtown Food Research Centre
Globalisation has been a significant factor behind the financial meltdown in which we all find ourselves now, but it has also led to significant changes in the variety and origin of the foodstuffs which line our supermarket shelves. In previous articles, I have discussed some analytical responses to the concerns which consumers have regarding claims made on the labels of processed foods; fingerprint technologies, such as near infrared spectroscopy, possess specific features which make them well-suited for deployment to address at least some of these concerns. The focus of this article is on the appropriate chemometric strategy to deploy in the confirmation or determination of issues of the provenance of a food or food ingredient.
NIR is widely used in food analysis with application to many sectors. In this article Gerry Downey addresses its value to the dairy industry.
The dairy industry is of enormous financial significance in Ireland and many other European countries and it is currently undergoing a period of large scale rationalisation into many fewer but larger production units. Concomitant decreases in employment numbers exerts pressure on the manufacturing operations to maintain high levels of quality in the wide array of products that the industry produces. Near infrared has obvious potential for addressing this issue, yet its use by the dairy sector is far from extensive. We have recently been involved in a study of the use of NIR for monitoring the quality of two types of cheese of commercial importance: Cheddar cheese and processed cheese. The results of this three-year study are currently being published but some highlights of already released material are described below.
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