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On-line monitoring and quality control for packaged food

Objective



This project is concerned with the development of quality control sensing technology for the food packaging industry. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) has become a widely used food preservation technique which minimally affects fresh product characteristics and hence fits in well with recent consumer trends for fresh natural and additive free food. MAP packed food is norrnally produced in an atmosphere of CO2 in this inert atrnosphere the PO2 should be less than 1% otherwise, despite a mechanically sound vacuum, undesired discolouration and food spoilage can occur leading to a product which cannot be retailed. Current methods of testing that the level of oxygen is below the required limits involve random destructive testing on the production line. This is not only wasteful but also means that packages pass through the quality checks which have too high PO2 and will later discolour and have to be rejected. If the exact PO2 could be established through a non-destructive test then not only would wastage be reduced but the shelf life of the food could be more accurately established and most likely extended, reducing wastage further. The object of the project is to develop a non destructive sensor for the analysis of the atmosphere of packaged food. The technique will measure PO2 within a food package without penetrating the package and contaminating the product. The technique will allow monitoring of each package on a production line without loss of product or production time.To achieve these objectives it is proposed to develop a novel optical sensing technology utilising the principle of luminescence quenching. The main focus of the project will be on developing the oxygen sensing technology.The research work will also focus on developing suitable oxygen sensitive membranes in which to immobilise the luminophore and evaluation and the development of suitable dye complexes.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards

Coordinator

Analytic Devices
Address
3637,Brugakker
3700 AR Zeist
Netherlands