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Quality and safety benefits from innovative processing solutionsThe objective of this deliverable (N. 5.33) is to report the results of testing the efficacy of the innovative solutions developed in various tasks of the Work Package N. 4 under the conditions of commercial fresh-cut facilities.
The workpackage N. 4 was led by Victor Rodov from The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel – The Volcani Centre.
University of Foggia (UNIFG-Disacd)
The demonstration activity was to scale up the growing protocols developed in the Task 4.1 under the real operating conditions of a commercial De Ceglia Saverio farm (Italy). Two different seasonal conditions were used in order to test and demonstrate the validity of the research outcomes.
The chlorine-alternative method for water and product disinfection based on application of chlorine dioxide and ultra-filtration was tested at the commercial plant of the Agronomia Srl company (Italy).
The Volcani Center (ARO) and Einat Food Industries Agricultural Cooperative Society LTD (EFI)
The efficacy of the UV treatment for controlling the microbial proliferation on fresh-cut melons was tested by collaborative effort of ARO and EFI at the EFI's commercial fresh-cut facility "Snack Time" (Israel).
Instytut Ogrodnictwa (IO – INSAD)
The demonstration activity was performed at company "Witamina" (Poland). The experiments were repeated twice at the company's processing facility and examined the effect of hot water treatment developed in Task 4.6 on the quality of two company's fresh salads using the Chinese cabbage as the major ingredient. In addition, the interaction of the hot water treatment with commercial packaging methods was tested.
University of Foggia (UNIFGDisa)
The demonstration activities was to interact with fresh-cut industry presenting the recommendations and the procedures for preventing the development of Listeria monocytogenes biofilms at processing facilities and encouraging the companies to adopt the recommended preventive measures, to operate according to the recommendations with subsequent follow-up. The recommendations were presented to the producer and processor companies in Italy and Portugal.
Agricultural University of Athens (AUA)
Rocket salad was delivered from a local producer Euro Catering SA (Greece) and packaged according to the commercial practice or to the new method developed. The packages were stored at 0, 5, 10 and 15°C with daily quality evaluation. The performance of the new time-temperature indicator (TTI) was adjusted to match the marketability limit at a given temperature.
The activities reported in this deliverable have demonstrated the efficacy of the innovative processing solutions developed within the Work package 4.
Beyond the high produce quality during storage, the new growing strategy allowed a noticeable abatement of nitrate in the raw material, so it can be considered a valid and highly recommended technique to improve product safety in leafy vegetable growing.
The tests confirmed the efficacy of chlorine dioxide as the alternative to sodium hypochlorite, provided the water flow was increased twofold in order to improve the efficacy against moulds and yeasts. Ultra-filtration allowed the reuse of washing water and contributed to its microbial safety.
ARO and EFI
The demonstration trial has confirmed that the UV treatment can slow down the microbial proliferation on fresh cut melons without affecting their quality parameters.
The hot water treated fresh cut Chinese cabbage, packed in lunch boxes and chicken salad boxes, maintained better quality during short term storage than non-treated cabbage prepared according to company procedures.
The major result of the demonstration activities was the adoption of the recommendations by the companies as an effective means to reduce the risk of biofilm formation by L. monocytogenes on the processing line.
The produce life was extended from 6 days in commercial packages to 23 days in the experimental ones. The experimental packages reduced the pseudomonas and total aerobic mesophilic counts. The lemongrass essential oil restricted growth of enterococci but not of the artificially inoculated pathogens L. monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7, stressing the need in preventive measures for controlling the food safety hazards. The TTI successfully indicated the marketability limit reached at 10 and 15°C.
For further info: www.quafety.eu
Dr Victor Rodov
Agricultural Research Organization of Israel
The Volcani Centre
Publication date: 3/5/2015
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