Across the European Union much research is being carried out on by industrialists and academics on the improvement of quality and safety in frozen foods. A key problem for all this research is how to maintain and monitor factors affecting this quality from the time when the food leaves the factory until the point of consumption. The range of disciplines involved in this field is extremely broad. This proposal is for a concerted action to bring together the key players in this research. The concerted action aims to provide a focus from which information on the current state of research can flow to the widest possible audience, to prevent duplication, and to coordinate future research direction.
Scientific research and development is currently approaching the quality preservation problem from two angles. The first is to monitor and control temperature during distribution and retail to minimise damage. An ideal world would see foods frozen to a storage temperature below the glass transition temperature and maintained at that temperature until the time of cooking. However practical considerations of handling, easy access to, and visibility of, displays and economic factors all compete with this ideal. The second approach is to engineer foods so that they are less susceptible to poor thermal handling in the distribution chain. This is approached through research on modification of the glass transition in the unfrozen solution, in order to minimise chemical deterioration, and on the reduction of ice recrystallisation damage, by the study of antifreeze peptides.
The main objectives are :
1. To establish a multidisciplinary network to coordinate future research in this area.
2. To ensure the information and involvement of as many as possible of the SME's
which make up a large fraction of the distribution chain.
3. To enhance the competitive position of European food industry in this market
with improvements to product quality.
4. To provide trans-European standards for the handling of frozen foods which will
ease the transfer of products within the single market, and improve public health
through an increased understanding of food safety.
These will be achieved by meeting the following specific deliverables :
1. Best Practice Reports: Reports produced by the end of the action will outline
best practice across the union in the areas of food safety, transport and retail
2. Network for the dissemination of results: A network of companies and bodies
will be established who are interested in receiving abstracts of research
performed. This database will contain predominantly SME's who are unlikely
to have the time or resources to access published research through the usuals
3. Shared costs : The concerted action will bring together smaller multidisciplinary
teams including SME members who will submit shared cost proposals in the key
areas of scientific study. A) Refrigerated transport B) The glass transition,
C) Antifreeze peptides.
Funding SchemeCON - Coordination of research actions
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