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Safety assurance in the poultry chain

Poultry is popular as light meat and therefore part of a health-conscious lifestyle. As a consequence, poultry production and consumption have risen to a very high level.

In 2007, production reached 1,14 million tons in Germany alone. The growth in imports was even greater (14.9 %), reaching 572,100 tons, whilst exports, according to the Zentrale Markt- und Preisberichtstelle für Erzeugnisse der Land-, Forst- und Ernährungswirtschaft (ZMP) in Bonn, rose to 534,300 tons.

Regardless of where the poultry comes from, freshness and food safety are the critical factors which ensure customer satisfaction. All parties involved in the supply chain must work together to meet these demands.

CHILL-ON is an EU-funded project which is working on a solution to guarantee a more accurate and almost continuous prediction of the level of risk during the supply process. As a result, the safety of the final product purchased by the customer in the supermarket will be significantly improved. The advantages were made obvious at the recent project meeting in Bonn.

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CHILL-ON contributes to improving safety assurance

Supply chain experts for fresh and frozen food gathered at the Annual CHILL-ON Meeting on 3rd/4th June in Bonn to present the project's achievements to date. One particular "hot topic" in the field of risk assessment is the development of a management strategy that will in-crease safety assurance in chilled and frozen poultry products. The consortium, co-ordinated by ttz Bremerhaven, plans to finish the development work in 2010.The predictive management strategy will enable all parties along the supply chain to estimate the numerical level of microbial contamination. This progress is possible thanks to continuous data monitoring along the poultry supply chain. QMRA ("Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment"), the mathematical forecast model, takes into consideration the characteristics of a product in order to predict the progeny of bacteria. The result makes it possible to estimate whether the product will be contami-nated to an unacceptable degree at the forwarding steps of the poultry supply chain, so that the safety assurance of the final product can be improved.

The mathematical model for estimating microbiological contamination has been developed by Prof. Dr. Viktor Popov and his colleagues from the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), supported by several other CHILL-ON partners.

Microbiological hazards have the most significant effect for the poultry in-dustry. Predicting microbiological contamination will improve the safety assurance, said Ewa Pacholowicz from ttz Bremerhaven, who is involved in adapting the mathematical model to the safety management systems in the poultry industry. Rising consumption and, on the other hand, poultry consumers' increasing awareness of microorganisms are demanding assurance of zero- level microbial risk in production. It is known that assurance of zero-level microbial risk is unattainable; "however CHILL-ON aims to develop a management strategy that will come very close to that level", states Maria Bunke, CHILL-ON project manager at ttz Bremerhaven.

The CHILL-ON project, funded by the European Commission, aims to develop and integrate novel technologies to improve safety, transparency and quality assurance in the chilled and frozen food supply chain. The 27 member organisations from several European countries, as well as Israel, Brazil, Chile and China, are receiving total funding of 10.1 million Euro from the European Commission.

ttz Bremerhaven is a market-oriented and independent provider of research services. At four locations in Bremerhaven, ttz staff conduct applied research and development work in the following fields: Food technology and bio process engineering, analytics, health technologies, organisation and software, as well as water, energy and land use management.

Britta Rollert,
ttz Bremerhaven, Public Relations
Telephone 0049-471 / 4832-121/-124
Fax 0049-471 / 4832-129

Britta Rollert | idw
Further information:

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