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FOODPRO - A Safer and Healthier Way to Heat Food Products

23.04.2004


A safer way to heat food products that retains nutritional qualities, which experts acknowledge has a positive effect on health, is being developed with the help of €693,000 from the Food Quality and Safety Programme of the European Union’s Framework Programme

In most cases, the production of safe food products requires some form of heat treatment and, in traditional heating methods, the result is often a loss of nutritional quality. This is because the heat is generated outside the food and transmitted to it by conduction and/or convection. With products containing particles, like fruit or vegetable pieces, this often causes overheating of the liquid within the food - in order to achieve sufficient heating of the solids.

Now FOODPRO aims to develop an alternative heating process through the use of ohmic heating - a process that heats food material internally by passing an electric current through it. The project is pan-European with partners in the UK, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland and Spain and specifically aims to:

  • Improve taste and nutritional content

  • Maintain or improve microbial safety
  • Reduce the need of chemical additives
  • Improve the market value of products due to improved consumer demand

The project is being co-ordinated by C-Tech Innovation Ltd, an independent technology development and consultancy company. Formerly part of the UK’s Electricity Research Centre, it has over thirty years experience and expertise, in providing services to companies, universities and governmental bodies.

Co-ordinator Michael Harrison is very enthusiastic about the project, saying: “The cost of this type of Co-operative Research would not be possible without the European funding. We estimate the total project costs to be in the region of €1.12 million so, as more than fifty percent is being provided by the Framework Programme, it is unlikely that the project could otherwise have gone ahead.

Taking part in projects like this provides real contacts with organisations who would actually buy the end product. Their involvement allows partners to realise the time it takes to carry out research in the development process. Other participants have already expressed a desire to buy the final product.”

Dave Sanders | alfa
Further information:
http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk

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