• Extending the shelf life of fresh sliced mushrooms

      Brennan, Martine H.; Gormley, Ronan T. (Teagasc, 1998-08)
      The Irish mushroom industry is expanding rapidly as is the demand for sliced mushrooms. To increase the competitiveness of Irish mushrooms for export their shelf life should be extended to compensate for the time lost in transit. The aim of this project was to extend the shelf life of sliced mushrooms by 50 % using novel processing treatments and / or packaging. A method was established to assess the effects of different treatments on mushroom quality. This method was followed using solutions of citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, EDTA, nisin, diacetyl, vitamin E, ascorbic acid, rosemary extracts and sodium metabisulphite.
    • Control and detection of food-borne pathogens

      Duffy, Geraldine; Cloak, Orla; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1998-08)
      The objective of this study was to develop rapid methods for the detection of bacteria from food.
    • Relating starch properties to boiled potato texture

      Gormley, Ronan T. (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1998-08)
      Basic information on starch properties may help to explain the different textural characteristics of potato cultivars, and also their suitability for different forms of processing. The study involved tests on both raw potatoes, and on starch separated from potatoes, and embraced three main activities: (i) to relate boiled-potato texture with the other test variables; (ii) to develop a rapid crush-test for assessing cooked-potato texture; (iii) to study the effect of chilling and freezing on the development of resistant starch (RS) in boiled potatoes.
    • The ultra-rapid chilling of lamb carcasses

      McGeehin, Brian; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      The practice in Irish commercial abattoirs is to chill lamb carcasses for a period of approximately 16 hours at 2 - 4°C, at which stage the core temperature of the carcass has reached 7°C. Chilling in this manner is considered necessary because it is generally held that faster chilling leads to toughening of the meat. The objective of this work was to develop a continuous ultra-rapid chilling system for lambs which would reduce carcass chilling time without adversely affecting the quality of the meat.
    • Wheat flour properties and end product quality

      Dwyer, Elizabeth; O'Halloran, Grainne R. (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      For pizza production, the flour quality values identified for the wheat cultivars, Promessa, Quintus (spring), and Soissons (winter) should be used as guidelines in selecting new cultivars and in the development of flour specifications. Similarly for biscuit production, compositional and rheological data for the cultivars, Riband,Woodstock (soft-milling) and Brigadier (hardmilling) should be used for identifying biscuit flours. The rheological properties of dough (as measured by the alveograph, extensograph and farinograph) did not relate to the baking quality for some wheat cultivars. However the rheological properties of the gel protein prepared from these flours explained their baking quality. The very high elastic moduli of these gels explained the basis of shrinkage of pizza bases produced from Baldus and Lavett flours and biscuits produced from Ritmo flour.
    • New technologies in the manufacture of low fat meat products

      Allen, Paul; Dreeling, Niamh; Desmond, Eoin; Hughes, Eimear; Mullen, Anne Maria; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      The objective of this project was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of low fat meat products. The emphasis was placed on identifying the barriers to producing high quality, low fat meat products and providing a knowledge base for manufacturers to overcome these, rather than actually developing new products. Each partner had specific tasks and worked with traditional products of their country. A wide range of products was thereby studied including comminuted, emulsion, cured and dried fermented, so that the results are widely applicable.
    • Up-grading of low value meats and by-products for use in consumer foods

      Kenny, Tony; Desmond, Eoin; Ward, Patrick (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      Animal offals can be divided into (1) edible offals and by-products including fats, blood, and low-grade trimmings such as poultry skin and pork hock meat; (2) extracts from edible offals for use as ingredients in food products; (3) inedible offals; (4) hides and skins; (5) raw materials for extraction of pharmaceuticals or chemicals; (6) raw materials for sundry by-products.
    • Enhancing the tenderness of beef

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      This project investigated various methods which had potential to increase beef tenderness and was also aimed at elucidating the biochemical mechanism underlying the improved tenderness.
    • Biochemical and physical indicators of beef quality

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Beef of a consistent quality is required by the meat industry in order to maintain and expand markets. Measurement of beef quality is difficult at factory level. Measurements to indicate the final eating quality are not well developed yet. This project examined novel approaches to this problem using biochemical and physical methods. The Biochemical indicators of beef quality examined included: pH , Protease activity as a potential indicator of meat tenderness, Cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activities in relation to beef ageing, Relationship between cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activity and WBSF values, Protein fragments as an indication of beef tenderness and Myofibrillar proteins. The Physical indicators of beef quality examined included: Post-mortem changes in muscle electrical properties and their relationship to meat quality attributes, Near infrared reflectance spectra as indicators of beef quality, Shear force as an indicator of tenderness.
    • Near infra-red spectroscopy in the food industry: a tool for quality management

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a rapid, non-destructive analytical technique which has been used in the food and agriculture industries for almost 20 years. Ireland was one of the first countries in the world to adopt this method for national trading purposes and the grain trade has used it for off-farm and in-process analysis since 1981. However, other sectors have been slower to realise its potential and as part of a process of demonstrating the role which it may play in monitoring quality in a range of food industry applications, a programme of research and development has been on-going within Teagasc and its predecessor An Foras Talúntais.
    • Development of a novel bulk packaging system for retail cuts of meat

      Allen, Paul; Doherty, Alice M.; Isdell, Emer (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Meat colour is an important criterion in the appeal of meat to consumers at the point of sale. The bright red colour of fresh beef and lamb and the pinkish colour of fresh pork are due to the oxygenation of the myoglobin pigment when the meat is exposed to air. However, exposure to air over several days causes irreversible browning and rejection of the meat by consumers. The gaseous environment in which retail cuts are stored is therefore critical to ensure a good colour over the display life. Existing packaging systems do not have a sufficiently long storage life for the additional time required for exports from Ireland to the UK or continental Europe. The objective of this project was to develop a bulk packaging system for retail cuts that would have a sufficient shelf life to be used by the Irish industry to export retail ready cuts. In conclusion, a packaging system has been developed on a laboratory scale which is capable of extending the storage life of some beef cuts, lamb loin chops and pork loin chops. The display life of these after storage is comparable to fresh cuts. In order for this system to be commercialised it would have to be shown to work on a larger scale in a production environment.
    • The quality of under-utilised deep-water fish species

      Brennan, Martine H.; Gormley, Ronan T. (Teagasc, 1999-09)
      The quality of twenty-three frozen under-utilised fish species was examined. The species were spot samples of deep-water fish caught near the Rockall Trough by the Fisheries Research Centre. Their basic composition was 80.8 - 86.4% water, 9.8 - 25.2% protein, 0.18 - 16.2% lipid and 0.7 - 2.0% ash. Lead, cadmium and mercury concentrations were determined for six species and were much lower than the maximum levels set in 1992. Ammonia levels were unacceptably high in three shark species.
    • Development of a critical control step for E.coli 0157:H7 in pepperoni

      Duffy, Geraldine; Riordan, Denise C.; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      Verocytotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) and particularly strains of serogroup O157, have emerged as food poisoning pathogens which can cause a severe and potentially fatal illness. The symptoms of VTEC infection include haemorrhagic colitis with bloody diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain. The infection may lead to renal failure as a result of haemolytic uraemic syndrome. Because of the severity of the illness and the low infectious dose, this pathogen is classed as a serious food safety issue. It is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture that the production process for ready to eat foods such as fermented meats (pepperoni, salami etc.) should be capable of addressing a worst case scenario ie. the production process should be able to yield a log105.0cfu /g (105 cfu/g) reduction in numbers of E. coli O157:H7 on the raw meat. The aim of this study was to develop an industrially viable critical control step(s) which could be implemented into the pepperoni production process.
    • Predicting the eating quality of meat

      Mullen, Anne Maria; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A novel, water soluble protein fragment [1735Da] was isolated from beef striploin and characterised. As soluble components of the proteolytic system are easily extracted from muscle they may be suitable for routine factory analysis. This fragment originated from the important myofibrillar protein, troponin T and may serve as a tenderness indicator.
    • Contamination of Beef Carcasses during Hide Removal and use of a Test Bacterial Decontamination System on Beef Hide

      McEvoy, John M.; Doherty, Alice M.; Sheridan, James J.; McGuire, Liam (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      In Ireland, the Abattoirs Act, 1988 (Veterinary Examination) (Amendment), 1998 (S.I. No. 6, 1998) empowers the ante mortem veterinary inspector to reject animals for slaughter or require slaughter under special conditions, based on the level of visible hide contamination. Special conditions for slaughter include reduced line speed, increased space between animals and increased use of workstation hygiene facilities. Since their introduction in Ireland, cattle regulations have become more stringent and at present, both category 4 and 5 animals are rejected. However, a procedure for shaving accumulated hardened faeces (faecal clods) from category 4 and 5 animals has been introduced into most abattoirs, enabling them to reach the cleanliness standard. The potential risk of pathogens surviving in faecal clods on the hide of animals at slaughter is not known. This study examined: 1. The relationship between livestock cleanliness categories and the amount of contamination on the resultant carcasses. 2. The difference in bacterial contamination on carcasses from category 4 animals dressed without increased use of workstation hygiene facilities and those dressed with increased use of hygiene facilities. 3. The survival of E. coli O157:H7 in faecal clods
    • A test bacterial decontamination system for meat products

      Ward, Oonagh C.; Logue, Catherine M.; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A pilot scale apparatus was designed to allow meat samples to be treated with steam at sub-atmospheric pressures and correspondingly reduced temperatures. Experiments were carried out to determine the effectiveness of sub-atmospheric steam decontamination in eliminating bacteria on the surface of fresh beef. This type of treatment can have special advantages in that steam can be produced at temperatures well below 100ºC. This means that the heat advantages of steam as a decontaminating agent can potentially be obtained at lower temperatures.
    • Texture of fruit and vegetable components of ready meals

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      Vegetable and fruit purées are important parts of prepared ready-meals. Further expansion of this food sector will depend among other things on improved and consistent product quality. Innovative organoleptic properties in ready-meal components will assist in product diversification and the growth of market share.
    • Upgrading the cold chain for consumer food products

      Gormley, Ronan T.; Brennan, Martine H.; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      The prepared consumer foods sector in Ireland is undergoing sustained dynamic growth. Products that are distributed chilled or frozen require a cold chain and there is potential to increase product quality by optimising the cold chain. This potential prompted the current study.
    • The survival of added escherichia coli O157:H7 in natural mineral water and its products and the development of a rapid method for enumeration of the heterotrophic bacteria in natural mineral water

      Kerr, Marie; Fitzgerald, Margaret; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      The consumption of natural mineral water is rapidly growing and outpacing all other beverages on a global scale. In Europe, bottled water already has a bigger market share than carbonated soft drinks. Yet there is only a limited availability of information on the microbiological safety and quality of bottled natural mineral waters sold within the European Community. As natural mineral water does not receive any bacteriocidal treatment prior to bottling, the risk of pathogen contamination is a public health concern. Pathogen contamination may occur as a result of over exploitation of natural mineral water resources i.e. over abstraction by commercial bottling companies may lead to disturbance of the water table causing contaminated surface water to be drawn down into ground water supplies (Green and Green 1994). Such contamination was implicated in an outbreak of cholera associated with the consumption of bottled natural mineral water in Portugal in 1974 (Blake et al. 1977). The transport and dissemination of E. coli and enterococci in a limestone aquifer had been demonstrated by Personné et al. (1998), confirmation that E. coli can survive the transitory period from the surface to underground water supplies, thus raising the question of E. coli O157:H7 with its low infective dose < 10 cells (Willshaw et al. 1994 and Tilden et al. 1996) surviving the transitory period from surface to a natural mineral water aquifer.
    • Routine diagnostic tests for food-borne pathogens

      Duffy, Geraldine; Kilbride, Brendan; Fitzmaurice, Justine; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2001-01)
      Rapid techniques were developed and applied to the determination of total viable bacteria and to the detection of food borne pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and E. coli O157:H7). The method developed for total viable counts is based on membrane filtration and fluorescent staining and the technique can be performed and a result obtained within 20 min. The results correlate well with the standard plate count and the technique is now being implemented in Irish food factories.