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Integrated Approach to enable Traceability of the Cooling Chain of Fresh and Frozen Meat and Fish Products by means of Taylor-made Time/ Temperature Indicators

Final Report Summary - FRESHLABEL (Integrated Approach to enable Traceability of the Cooling Chain of Fresh and Frozen Meat and Fish Products by means of Taylor-made Time/ Temperature Indicators)

The main objective of the FRESHLABEL project was to develop tailor-made time temperature systems for the application within the European meat and fish industries. The indicators are now tailored to the shelf-life and optimum storage conditions of the products they are designed to monitor.

Some of the major achievements of the project were:
-the FRESHLABEL project was successful in the development and optimisation of TTIs, enabling the generalised introduction of TTIs in key sectors of the European meat and fish industry. The use of these TTIs will increase the commercial image of fresh fish and meat products through:

- definition of TTI characteristics by the RTDs and technology providing SMEs
The aim of this task was to assess all the collected information in the previous tasks and define the theoretical design of the FRESHLABEL TTIs. The findings show that most of the fresh and chilled fish and meat products are to be stored between a temperature range of 0 and 7 degrees Celsius. The recommended storage conditions must be followed in order to ensure that the products are going to be in good conditions until the expiration date.

- evolution of TTI technology as provided by FRESHPOINT
The TTIs were further developed, adapted to the different products investigated in the project, and optimised during the three years project duration. The TTIs will be tailor made to the specific product they are planned to monitor by correlating the colour decay to the freshness decay of the product. The specific microcrystals comprising the sensor of the TTIs are activated with a ultraviolet light source. The sensor turns to dark blue once it has been activated. Through this initiation process and internal clock is triggered, reverting slowly to the original colour of the microcrystals. Dark blue means very fresh, light blue means still fresh and white means that the food shelf-life has expired. When designing the production of the above mentioned TTIs, the goal was to develop pigment based inks that are composed of conventional ink resins and TTI pigments that yield a stable ink formulation and that allow the printing of the labels in just any low-end label producing company.

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