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Center of Excellence for Food Safety Using Microwave Energy


<p>The goal of the "Center of Excellence" is to accelerate technology transfer of microwave based food safety technologies. The Center will leverage the resources from the government, universities, and the food industry to bridge knowledge gaps and reduce technical and regulatory hurdles for food companies, particularly small and medium sized companies, in adopting novel technologies for the production of nutritious, safe, high-quality prepackaged foods and ready-to-eat (RTE) meals, in light of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). </p><p>The members of center with expertise in complementary academic multi-disciplines will work closely with experts from private sectors and regulatory agencies to achieve 11 objectives: </p><p>Objective1: Conduct engineering studies to optimize engineering design and assist scaling-up of MW pasteurization (MAPS) and sterilization (MATS) systems; </p><p>Objective2: Develop and validate MAPS processes for selected food products for FDA FSMA compliance and develop protocols for regulatory filing; </p><p>Objective3: Evaluate, improve and maximize the quality of MAPS and MATS processed food products; </p><p>Objective 4: Design and develop polymeric packages for MAPS and MATS processed foods; </p><p>Objective 5: Conduct accelerated storage and sensory studies for MAPS and MATS processed foods; </p><p>Objective 6: Conduct economic analysis to assess the costs and benefits of adopting MAPS technology by food processing companies; </p><p>Objective 7: Study energy and water usage in MATS and MAPS operations, evaluate environmental impact; </p><p>Objective 8: Assist food processing companies to develop food formulations for MAPS and MATS processing, develop and validate processes, and file for FDA and USDA FSIS acceptance; <?p><p>Objective 9: Disseminate knowledge via short-courses, certificate programs, and web based media; </p><p>Objective 10: Prepare the next generation of leaders trained in food safety technologies and implementation. </p>

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The overall goal of the Center of Excellence is to bridge knowledge gaps and reduce technical and regulatory hurdles for the food industry, particularly small and medium sized companies, to adapt the novel technologies for the production of safe and high-quality prepackaged foods and ready-to-eat (RTE) meals. The Center activities will focus on: 1) assisting scale-up design of microwave assisted pasteurization systems (MAPS) and microwave assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) systems; 2) developing guidance and protocols for industrial implementation of the technology in compliance with regulatory food safety requirements; 3) maximizing product quality of the processed foods for consumers; 4) assessing market potential and environmental impacts; and 5) providing training to industrial personnel and next generation scientists and engineers. The Center is structured to support direct engagement among academic researchers, food industry, regulatory agencies, and consumers in addressing specific issues related to technology transfer and implementation. It will develop an effective platform to leverage support from the private industry. The industrial implementation of the novel technologies will help food companies to be in compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and benefit rural communities, where most small and medium companies are located, to ensure food safety, increase job opportunities, lower energy and water-use requirements, and add value to agricultural and aquatic produce.

Tang, Juming
Washington State University
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