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Engineering for Food Safety and Quality


<p>Obj 1. Advancing the fundamental science and application of technologies to ensure safety and improve quality of food products </p><p>Obj 1a. Utilize innovative methods to characterize food materials </p><p>Obj 1b. Develop new and improved processing technologies </p><p>Obj 2. Develop pedagogical methodologies for improved learning of food engineering principles </p><p>Obj 3. Develop outreach programs to disseminate best practices for enhancing food safety and quality to stakeholders</p>

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<p>For the successful development of innovative processing technologies and approaches, from concept to commercialization, that produce safe quality foods, several approaches will be used. Engineering parameters will be determined in both gaseous and liquid systems to describe, model, and ensure a safe quality food supply. Processing technologies will include both thermal and non-thermal (high pressure processing, irradiation) approaches. Information on destruction of various pathogenic and spoilage bacteria as a function of composition, pH and water activity will be determined using standard operating procedures. Since the inactivation mechanism of the non-thermal technologies may be different from thermal processing, a mechanistic understanding of inactivation by various technologies is desired. Quality parameters will be determined for each process and food system, including storage after processing. The efficacy of the various technologies in preserving food quality attributes, such as texture, color, and flavor and aroma will be measured using standard methods. The impact of new and improved processing technologies in degradation of various nutrients and enzymes will be determined. The uniformity and efficiency of each treatment influenced by food composition and properties as well as equipment design characteristics will be determined. Mathematical models will help in evaluating process uniformity under these conditions as well as in studies involving process optimization. Critical control points will be identified that influence product microbial safety and quality so that appropriate steps can be taken in the event of process deviation. While no commercial Pressure Assisted Thermal Processed products are available, the technology recently gained momentum with FDA approval of a petition to preserve a low-acid food. We will investigate the application of high pressure and pressure assisted pasteurization and sterilization for food safety and quality. Inactivation of various microorganisms, related to food safety, as a function of food composition and process parameters will be investigated. Reaction kinetics of various food constituents at combined pressure-heat treatment will be investigated. Quality benefits of PATP products will be investigated. The application of ionizing irradiation (electron and gamma) for pasteurization of various fresh, high-risk food products, such as leafy greens, fresh-cut produce, enzymes, and raw nuts. Safety and quality of the treated products will be evaluated. Combination processes such as MAP, ozone treatment, and GRAS antimicrobial agents will be used a hurtle technology will be investigated to determine their individual and combined effects on the functionality of ingredients, safety and quality of processed food products. Likewise, the influence of nanotechnology packaging on the safety and quality (physicochemical, textural and sensorial) properties of foods prepared using nanotechnology.</p>

Wilson, Lester
Iowa State University
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