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EU FP7 PROMETHEUS project

Institutions
FERA - Food and Environment Research Agency
Start date
2011
End date
2014
Objective
The aims of the PROMETHEUS project were:
  • to understand the reactions involving food components that form toxic contaminants
  • to provide methods to monitor online, in real time, indicators of these reactions and produced contaminants
  • to develop alternative processing technologies limiting contaminant formation while maintaining food safety and sensorial acceptance
  • to demonstrate satisfactory upscaling of the new technologies to the industrial level

Food models (infant formulas, biscuits, canned baby foods, and canned fish and vegetables) have been selected for their nutritional relevance to the consumer, especially infants and children. Processing contaminants (acrylamide, 3-monochloropropanediol esters, glycidol esters, furan, hydroxymethylfurfural and carboxymethyllysine) have been chosen for their toxicology and relevance to the food product and process.

PROMETHEUS applied a novel holistic analytical approach of continuous real-time online monitoring of process contaminant formation during food processing. Ambient mass spectrometry, fluorescence spectroscopy and image analysis were used to measure the relevant contaminants, their precursors and some quality indicators simultaneously. Nutritional and sensorial indicators were measured for each of the food products. The data will allow modelling of the reactions that form contaminants and affect food quality.

Innovative processing technologies used include: vacuum baking, high hydrostatic pressure, ohmic heating, and ingredient microencapsulation.

More information

PROMETHEUS stands for Process contaminants: mitigation and elimination techniques for high food quality and their evaluation using sensors and simulation. The PROMETHEUS consortium has eight research organisations and six industrial participants (including four Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), one large company and the European Confederation of Agro Food industries). The project outcomes will help to protect consumers by providing them with high quality ready-to-eat food products. It will improve the competitiveness of the food industry by anticipating future regulations on neoformed contaminants, and help it to innovate by implementing new technologies in order to better control the safety and overall quality of their products. The FSA provided direct 'matched' funding to the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) (one of the research organisations) to support their role in the project.

Funding Source
European Commission
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
FS241029
Categories
Parasites
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Dioxins, Furans, PFCs, and PCBs