The PROMETHEUS project will help the European food industry reduce consumer exposure to food processing contaminants without affecting food quality or microbiological safety. PROMETHEUS builds on the previous EU projects HEATOX and ICARE. Its aims are (1) to understand the dynamics of formation of major Processing Contaminants, (2) to provide on-line real time methods to monitor reactions leading to contaminant formation, (3) to develop new processing technologies to mitigate contaminants but maintain the safety and sensory properties of the food and (4) to demonstrate scaling the new technologies to the industry level. Foods (infant formulas, biscuits, canned baby foods, and canned fish and vegetables) have been chosen for their nutritional importance. Processing contaminants (acrylamide, 3-monochloropropanediol esters, glycidol esters, furan, hydroxymethylfurfural and carboxymethyllysine) have been chosen for their toxicity, consumer exposure and relevance to the foods. PROMETHEUS will use a novel holistic approach of continuous real-time on-line monitoring of contaminant formation during food processing. Ambient mass spectrometry, fluorescence spectroscopy and image analysis will measure the contaminants simultaneously and allow modelling of the reactions that form contaminants and affect food quality. Innovative processing technologies will be used: vacuum baking, high hydrostatic pressure, ohmic heating, and ingredient microencapsulation. Improvement strategies will be demonstrated at industry level. The PROMETHEUS consortium has 8 research organisations and 6 industrial partners (including 4 SMEs, 1 large company and the European Confederation of Agro Food industries). The project outcome will help to protect the consumer. It will improve the competitiveness of the food industry by anticipating future contamination regulations, and help it to innovate by implementing new technologies in order to better control the safety and overall quality of their products.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project