Galactic microbiological shelf life project set for launch

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Galactic has developed a shelf life tool to predict listeria monocytogenes growth based on a range of criteria
Galactic has developed a shelf life tool to predict listeria monocytogenes growth based on a range of criteria

Related tags Shelf life Microbiology Bacteria Food safety

Biotech firm Galactic is working on food safety tools that will enable food and drink manufacturers to better predict and control product shelf life based on pathogen growth models.

The company is collaborating with the University of Lieja in Belgium on a long term project to develop a predictive model of shelf life for a range of different food categories. These include meat, dairy and seafood.

The tool is intended to determine how long it would take levels of pathogens to pass regulatory limits, based on factors such as moisture, temperature, water activity, acidity, salt content and antimicrobial treatment.

Alain Bernard, market development manager – food for Galactic told the work would take four to five years to complete and is expected to begin this September.

Specialised data

The company aims to pull together more specialised data on the growth of individual pathogens to construct the microbiological shelf life model. Bernard revealed this as Galactic announced the launch of a tool to predict shelf life based on listeria monocytogenes​ growth.

“We will work on a larger programme to try to develop a predictive model on shelf life based on the total plate count for germs. When you have more than one million bacteria per gramme of food product, it is considered out of shelf life.

“The main challenge is to identify each type [of pathogen] and put that into a mathematical model.”

Listeria monocytogenes

Galactic has just launched a mathematical modelling tool that is based on data gathered on listeria monocytogenes​ growth and provides shelf life thresholds.

The approach provides two models: ‘most probable’ and ‘super safe’. The company hopes the tool will help processors avoid costly and lengthy safety studies. It is aimed at technical, food safety, quality assurance and research and development managers.

The method can also act as a way of evaluating the effectiveness of different methods for eradicating listeria monocytogenes​.

Galactic now aims to develop similar models for pathogens such as clostridium botulinum​, as well as strains of Salmonella and E.coli, said Bernard. He expected the next tool to be available in about two years.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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