3M/Kraft expect global impact for new lactic acid test

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lactic acid bacteria, Lactic acid, Bacteria

3M and Kraft Foods have developed a new testing procedure to monitor lactic acid levels in food and help manufacturers assess product quality.

The procedure counts lactic acid bacteria in food and drink, to monitor shelf life and samples for foods such as raw and ready-to-eat meats.

The system uses a 3M Petrifilm aerobic count plate, a pH indicator and deMan Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) bacterial growth media.

Kraft said that it had recently validated the process internally, and 3M Food Safety is now releasing its method for food manufacturers globally.

Bob Young, senior technical specialist, 3M Food Safety, told FoodProductionDaily.com that 3M had spent around 2 years developing the technology with Kraft.

Young added that lactic acid bacteria testing was important from a product quality standpoint, but 3M had prioritised tackling problems such as food pathogens instead.

Consistency and shelf life

With lactic acid bacteria, food safety was less of an issue than a desire to avoid undesirable colour and flavour changes in food, said Young, and help food firms “ensure product consistency and a longer shelf life”.

He added: “We are just rolling out this new procedure, but are anticipating a great interest with our meat processing customers.”

Within Europe, 3M said it had initiated a third-party validation study for the technology, a procees it had already completed in the US.

Beyond meats, Young said that the procedure could possibly​be applied to other application areas.

He said: Results from a third party validation in the U.S. indicated that environmental samples and ready-to-eat salads, in some instances, compared well with the agar reference methods.

We encourage customers to test this procedure to see how it performs in their food matrices,”​ Young added.

Eye of the beholder

3M/Kraft’s new ‘aerobic’ procedure for lactic acid testing offered a “simpler and more labour efficient procedure by eliminating the need for gas paks and anaerobic jars,” ​Young said.

Testing for lactic acid is not required under government regulations, but 3M said companies such as Kraft now chose to monitor levels in both products and environments to ensure customer satisfaction.

Since lactic acid bacteria was not a regional phenomenon, Young said 3M expected the new procedure to have a “broad and diverse” ​global impact.

The value of internal quality control tests were often in the “eye of the beholder”, ​said Young, who added that 3M/Kraft's new aerobic method provided an alternative to the established anaerobic petrifilm procedure for lactic acid bacteria testing.

The new procedure compared well with classic reference methods, Young said, and new experiments could see it incorporated into new protocols.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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