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SMAS International Workshop

"Quality Management of the
Chill Chain"

16 December 2005

Training Center of the National Bank of Greece
Poseidonos Avenue 41-43, 16675, Glyfada, Athens, Greece



3rd Year Results

Objectives:   
The main tangible goal of the SMAS project is to develop a reliable and practical decision and management tool for an optimized handling of meat products in terms of both safety and quality The aim of this research project is to study reliable and practical Time Temperature Integrator (TTI) systems. The project will and expand on the scientific state of the art approach of mathematical modelling of dominating meat pathogens and translate this knowledge to TTI.  TTIs will be applied as quality and safety monitors of meat products from manufacture to consumption. 

The major expected achievements of the project are:

  • Accurate, validated mathematical models for safety and quality related microorganisms of ready to cook meat products. They will provide the meat industry with a tool for product development and safety assurance. The European authorities will have quantitative means for meat product risk evaluation.
  • The development and study of Time Temperature Integrators (TTI) suitable for meat safety monitoring.  These TTI will provide the meat industry and retail business with tools to monitor the chill chain.
  • Improved distribution logistics and management of the meat chill chain from the application the Safety Monitoring and Assurance System (SMAS).  SMAS could replace the current “First In First Out” (FIFO) practice and lead to risk minimization and quality optimization.
  • Increased ability of the meat sector to control its weak link, the chill chain
  • Fulfilment of consumer expectations that extra efforts and state of the art technology, represented by the use of TTI active labels and SMAS, have been employed to guarantee him low risk-high quality meat products.

Wide availability of state of the art information, from the project and other reliable sources for Risk Assessment of specific meat products, through the establishment of an effective Internet site

Results and Milestones:

Modelling and model validation for growth of pathogenic bacteria incident to meat was systematically carried out with a series of experiments on meat products. These included pork, beef and lamb products. Based on an expanded version of Combase, the wide microbial data base that is worked out by a Participant of the project, new models were developed for the effects of temperature and CO2 on the specific growth rate of major meat pathogens. Weaknesses of these models were resolved with the experimental work. The growth of the targeted pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteriditis, and  E. coli O157:H7 on different meat products, with or without natural microflora, stored under aerobic or modified atmosphere packaging, was studied and modelled at different temperature conditions from 0 to 20 oC.  Growth models of meat spoilage bacteria (pseudomonads, Brochothrix thermosphacta, lactic acid bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae) and shelf life models were also established and validated within the project, as a basis for correlation with the response of the TTI and the chill chain management system. The effect of spoilage microflora on the rate of the potential pathogen growth was an important issue that was systematically studied.

The work on the chill chain conditions was completed by building a valuable database from Greece and Netherlands. Data showed the importance of retail and domestic level.
All the aspects of building a risk assessment algorithm for meat products were studied and significant sources of uncertainty were resolved by use of the appropriate input data, accurate predictive models and effective statistical tools. The established Meat Microbial Risk Assessment Site, that was established and is constantly updated, serves as a practical tool for the scientific community, meat industry, regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers. MIRAM contains published material relevant to Microbial Risk Assessment and material resulted from the SMAS project (http://smas.chemeng.ntua.gr/MIRAM).   

Development, evaluation and modelling of TTI devices that have the required response characteristics and accuracy to serve as monitors of temperature history and controllers of quality state and microbiological safety of meat products, was carried out.  Different designs of enzymatic Time Temperature Integrators of various kinetic characteristics were kinetically modelled and validated under variable temperature conditions. A new tricolour configuration(green-yellow-red) was developed.  The TTI temperature sensitivity ranged in terms of activation energy values from 50 to 200 kJ/mol covering the range of kinetic behaviour of bacteria growth in meat products. The user friendly TTI software, TTISLC v2.0, that correlates TTI response to meat quality was updated.
The SMAS algorithm was built into software SMAS Decision Maker (SDM v1.0) for use for chill chain management with TTI.
The applicability and effectiveness of SMAS was validated in real and simulated chill chain field studies in different European countries. The obtained benefit from the SMAS intervention in the management of the products in the chill chain was clearly demonstrated.  Both the spoilage profile and the risk distribution at the time of final use was significantly improved in comparison to the non SMAS conventional FIFO approach. Also SMAS was communicated and feedback was received from potential end users of SMAS (food industry, retailers) in different European markets in the form of a comprehensive questionnaire on TTI labeling and SMAS and their potential use. The aim of the questionnaire was to inform the industry and food retailers about chill chain management using TTI and evaluate the users’ attitude. High scores were reported on the advantages from the potential TTI use. The information given about the TTI cost, reliability, applicability, liability and consumer acceptance from the SMAS project alleviated the reservations of a majority of the respondents.  
Through a consumer study, in Greece, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden,  about freshness and labelling of fresh packaged meat, with or without TTI, it was concluded that the respondents are well aware of the importance of freshness of fresh packaged meat. Information of freshness is needed and wanted. Despite some differences between the participating countries, a majority of the consumers are positive to TTI labelling.
Overall, work during the three years of the project progressed satisfactorily and in line with the targeted milestones.  All deliverables were achieved.

Benefits and Beneficiaries:

The SMAS project and the achieved progress and obtained results will benefit meat industry,regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers.

Future Actions:
Research work within the SMAS project was completed, however activities for the dissemination of results will continue.

Download Project Results Summary (.pdf)

PROJECT PROGRESS SUMMARY - 2nd YEAR

Objectives:

The main tangible goal of the SMAS project is to develop a reliable and practical decision and management tool for an optimized handling of meat products in terms of both safety and quality The aim of this research project is to study reliable and practical Time Temperature Integrator (TTI) systems. The project will and expand on the scientific state of the art approach of mathematical modelling of dominating meat pathogens and translate this knowledge to TTI. TTIs will be applied as quality and safety monitors of meat products from manufacture to consumption.

The major expected achievements of the project will be:

  • Accurate, validated mathematical models for safety and quality related microorganisms of ready to cook meat products. They will provide the meat industry with a tool for product development and safety assurance. The European authorities will have quantitative means for meat product risk evaluation.
  • The development and study of Time Temperature Integrators (TTI) suitable for meat safety monitoring. These TTI will provide the meat industry and retail business with tools to monitor the chill chain.
  • Improved distribution logistics and management of the meat chill chain from the application the Safety Monitoring and Assurance System (SMAS). SMAS could replace the current “First In First Out” (FIFO) practice and lead to risk minimization and quality optimization.
  • Increased ability of the meat sector to control its weak link, the chill chain
  • Fulfilment of consumer expectations that extra efforts and state of the art technology, represented by the use of TTI active labels and SMAS, have been employed to guarantee him low risk-high quality meat products.

Wide availability of state of the art information, from the project and other reliable sources (i.e validated mathematical models for pathogen growth, data for pathogen prevalence and concentration, distribution temperature profiles, dose response data, inactivation models, TTI and SMAS application) for Risk Assessment of specific meat products, through the establishment of an effective Internet site

Results and Milestones:

Modelling and model validation for growth of pathogenic bacteria incident to meat was systematically carried out with a series of experiments on meat products. These included pork, beef and lamb products. Based on an expanded version of Combase, the wide microbial data base that is worked out by a Participant of the project, new models were developed for the effects of temperature and CO2 on the specific growth rate of major meat pathogens. Weaknesses of these models were resolved with the experimental work. The growth of the targeted pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteriditis, and E. coli O157:H7 on different meat products, with or without natural microflora, stored under aerobic or modified atmosphere packaging, was studied and modelled at different temperature conditions from 0 to 20 oC. Growth models of meat spoilage bacteria (pseudomonads, Brochothrix thermosphacta, lactic acid bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae) and shelf life models were also established and validated within the project, as a basis for correlation with the response of the TTI and the chill chain management system. The effect of spoilage microflora on the rate of the potential pathogen growth was an important issue that was systematically studied.

The work on the chill chain conditions was completed by building a valuable database from Greece and Netherlands. Data showed the importance of retail and domestic level.

All the aspects of building a risk assessment algorithm for meat products were studied and significant sources of uncertainty were resolved by use of the appropriate input data, accurate predictive models and effective statistical tools. The established Meat Microbial Risk Assessment Site, was established and is constantly updated. It serves as a practical tool for the scientific community, meat industry, regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers. The site address is: http://smas.chemeng.ntua.gr/miram. MIRAM contains published material relevant to Microbial Risk Assessment and material resulted from the SMAS project.

The development, evaluation and modelling of TTI devices that have the required response characteristics and accuracy to serve as monitors of temperature history and controllers of quality state and microbiological safety of meat products, was completed. Different designs of enzymatic Time Temperature Integrators of various kinetic characteristics were kinetically modelled and validated under variable temperature conditions. A new tricolour configuration(green-yellow-red) was developed. The TTI temperature sensitivity ranged in terms of activation energy values from 50 to 200 kJ/mol covering the range of kinetic behaviour of bacteria growth in meat products. A user friendly TTI software that correlates TTI response to meat quality was produced.

The SMAS algorithm for the management of the chill chain was developed and is being built into a software for use in field tests.

Finally, to gather knowledge about the consumers knowledge and opinions about freshness and labelling of fresh packaged meat, with or without TTI, a consumer test was carried out in Greece, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden. It was concluded that the respondents are well aware of the importance of freshness of fresh packaged meat. Information of freshness is needed and wanted. Although some differences between the participating countries were recorded, a majority of the consumers are positive to TTI labelling.

Overall, work during the first two years progressed satisfactorily and in line with the targeted milestones.

Benefits and Beneficiaries:

The SMAS project and the achieved progress and obtained results will benefit meat industry,regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers.

Future Actions :

Work will continue focusing on the application of the validated microbial models, the risk assessment techniques, the refined TTI and the developed tools as the TTI software to further develop SMAS.

The SMAS chill chain management approach will be evaluated by mathematical simulation techniques as well as experimental work in the actual distribution and in laboratory scenarios. A SMAS software will be developed as a practical easy to use decision tool.

Further consumer research will be conducted to identify consumer response to the TTI signal as related to consumer perception of product quality.

 

 2nd year Project Progress Summary (.pdf) - Download

 

PROJECT PROGRESS SUMMARY - 1ST YEAR

Objectives:
The main tangible goal of the SMAS project is to develop a reliable and practical decision and management tool for an optimized handling of meat products in terms of both safety and quality The aim of this research project is to study reliable and practical Time Temperature Integrator (TTI) systems. The project will and expand on the scientific state of the art approach of mathematical modelling of dominating meat pathogens and translate this knowledge to TTI. TTIs will be applied as quality and safety monitors of meat products from manufacture to consumption.

The major expected achievements of the project will be:

  • Accurate, validated mathematical models for safety and quality related microorganisms of ready to cook meat products. They will provide the meat industry with a tool for product development and safety assurance. The European authorities will have quantitative means for meat product risk evaluation.
  • The development and study of Time Temperature Integrators (TTI) suitable for meat safety monitoring. These TTI will provide the meat industry and retail business with tools to monitor the chill chain.
  • Improved distribution logistics and management of the meat chill chain from the application the Safety Monitoring and Assurance System (SMAS). SMAS could replace the current “First In First Out” (FIFO) practice and lead to risk minimization and quality optimization.
  • Increased ability of the meat sector to control its weak link, the chill chain
  • Fulfilment of consumer expectations that extra efforts and state of the art technology, represented by the use of TTI active labels and SMAS, have been employed to guarantee him low risk-high quality meat products.

Wide availability of state of the art information, from the project and other reliable sources (i.e validated mathematical models for pathogen growth, data for pathogen prevalence and concentration, distribution temperature profiles, dose response data, inactivation models, TTI and SMAS application) for Risk Assessment of specific meat products, through the establishment of an effective Internet site

Results and Milestones:
Modelling and model validation for growth of meat spoilage bacteria was systematically carried out with a series of experiments on meat products. The products included pork, beef and lamb products. The growth of spoilage bacteria i.e. pseudomonads, Brochothrix thermosphacta, lactic acid bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae on products in aerobic or modified atmosphere packaging was measured. It was correlated with sensory analysis to shelf-life. The effect of temperature and/or pH of meat the growth of the different spoilage bacteria was modelled using the appropriate equations. Models were challenged and confirmed for variable temperature conditions. The work on the microbial spoilage of meat sets the standards for the information required for the development of effective TTI for meat spoilage.
Based on the wide microbial data base that is worked out by a Participant of the project new models were developed for the effects of temperature (0-15°C) and CO2 (0-30%) on the specific growth rate major meat pathogens (L. monocytogenes, E. coli and Salmonella spp) under study. Weaknesses of these will be resolved with further experimental work.
Data on prevalence and concentration of L. monocytogenes, Salmonella and E. coli O157 on meat products by literature search was collected and tabulated from the participants own countries as well as worldwide. This was complemented by laboratory testing that comprised an ongoing survey on the prevalence and concentration of Listeria, Salmonella and Escherichia coli in ground pork and beef from the open retail market and in a variety of ready to cook products at the manufacturing level.
The ongoing work on the chill chain conditions is building a valuable database. Data showed the importance of the retail and domestic level.
The Meat Microbial Risk Assessment Site, was established and is constantly updated. It serves as a practical tool for the scientific community, meat industry, regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers. The site address is: http://smas.chemeng.ntua.gr/miram. MIRAM contains published material relevant to Microbial Risk Assessment and material resulted from the SMAS project.
During the first reporting period work also focused on the development, evaluation and modelling of TTI devices that have the required response characteristics and accuracy to serve as monitors of temperature history and controllers of quality state and microbiological safety of meat products. Different designs of enzymatic Time Temperature Integrators of various kinetic characteristics were kinetically modelled and validated under variable temperature conditions. The TTI temperature sensitivity ranged in terms of activation energy values from 70 to 165 kJ/mol covering the range of kinetic behaviour of bacteria growth in meat products. In order to assess the
Overall, work during the 1st Reporting Period progressed satisfactorily and in line with the targeted milestones.

Benefits and Beneficiaries:
The SMAS project and the achieved progress and obtained results will benefit meat industry,regulators, inspection authorities but also non-specialist laboratories, SME’s and consumers.

Future Actions :
Work will continue focusing on modelling growth of pathogenic on various meat products. The objective of these studies is to evaluate and express quantitatively the effect of intrinsic or extrinsic factors (e.g temperature, CO2, pH, level of initial microflora) on microbial growth. Studies on the growth/no growth of meat pathogens as affected by temperature, CO2, pH, inoculum size and level of initial meat microflora. Validation and improvement of existing mathematical models for meat pathogens will be achieved.
Based on the ongoing collection of microbial prevalence and concentration data and the chill chain condition information, combined with dose-response data risk assessment of specific meat products will be conducted. The established Meat Microbial Risk Assessment Site, will be enriched and constantly updated.
Further refinement of the TTI models,optimisation of their design and the development of the TTI application software will be delivered
Surveys will be conducted aiming at obtaining information on the attitude of consumers towards current food labelling and the concept and use of TTI, and the conduct of consumer surveys.

 1st year Project Progress Summary (.pdf) - Download

 

EC FIFTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME - Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources - Project QLK1-2002-02545