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Lead(Collaborating)Institution

DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2014 14/F/883 Teagasc, (Tyndall Institute - UCC) €624,730

Project Title:

Development of Spore Analysis Critical Control Point (SACCP) charts for application in dairy manufacturing processes

Project Coordinator:

Dr Phil Kelly

Project Abstract

The background microbiological load of raw milk and processed dairy ingredients supplies presents ongoing challenges for the dairy industry and nutritional product formulators in Ireland and globally, linked particularly to specifications on acceptable limits for high heat resistant spore forming microbes of Bacillus and Clostridium spp. With entry into the milk supply chain associated in the first instance with milk production practices and uncertainty as to their subsequent fate during milk processing, there is concern at the lack of in-process containment measures to limit spore numbers since pasteurisation processes are effective only when the contaminating organisms are present in the vegetative state. Recent events have highlighted the significant reputational damage that arose during a sporeformer-based contamination incident which was further aggravated by mis-identification of the isolated microorganism. In any case, allowable levels of contamination are continually decreasing in-line with end user specifications and a global trend towards higher food safety, particularly in high risk categories such as infant and medical nutrition, which predominantly utilise dairy ingredients within their product. Furthermore, breakdowns in control of food safety and specification management within the supply chain may lead to high levels of out of spec finished and semifinished ingredients resulting in either downgrade or re-work - scenarios which greatly increase the total cost of goods and services (COGS) for the processor. Unfortunately, very little scientific research is available to provide the dairy industry with a platform of inactivation technologies for heat resistant spores, particularly of Bacillus and Clostridium spp., while having due regard to the product’s capacity and stability to tolerate the required technological intervention.

The SACCP project proposes to (a) identify the key problematic spore-forming bacteria in Irish powdered dairy ingredients, (b) assess existing detection systems, and (c) evaluate novel thermal and non-thermal processes as to their efficacy to reduce spore numbers within dairy manufacturing processes. Spore Analysis Critical Control Point (SACCP) is intended to go beyond widely established HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) practices which rely on use of pasteurisation as a Critical Control Point (CCP). SACCP, on the otherhand, will generate process flow diagrams for spore reduction/eradication across the complete dairy portfolio, including liquid milk/whey, dairy isolates/concentrates and sports/medical/infant nutrition by considering and assessing the limitations of thermal and other processes while having due regard to the stability and processability of dairy streams exposed to higher thermal loadings. Additional assessment criteria will include an appraisal of the robustness and feasibility of technology to perform in a commercial installation. This step will be facilitated by breakthrough efforts on the part of Tyndall National Institute with the development of a rapid analytical biosensor for spore detection – prototypes of which will be tested in conjunction with pilot plant study tasks taking place during the course of the project.

Final Report:

Not available yet.