• Acrylamide formation in potato products

      Brunton, Nigel; Gormley, Ronan T.; Butler, Francis; Cummins, Enda; Danaher, Martin; O'Keeffe, Michael (Teagasc, 2006-08)
      Acrylamide, a substance classified as a potential carcinogen, occurs in heated starchy foods at concentrations many times in excess of levels permitted in drinking water. Early surveys indicated that levels of acrylamide in potato products such as French fries and potato crisps were the highest of the foodstuffs investigated. The present project addressed this issue by determining levels of acrylamide precursors (asparagine and reducing sugars) in raw potatoes and levels of acrylamide in (i) potato products from different storage regimes, (ii) spot-sampled potatoes purchased from a local supermarket, (iii) samples that received pre-treatments and were fried at different temperatures and (iv) French fries reheated in different ovens.A risk assessment of the estimated acrylamide intake from potato products for various cohorts of the Irish population was also conducted.
    • A quantitative risk assessment of E.coli 0157:H7 in Irish minced beef

      Duffy, Geraldine; O'Brien, Stephen; Carney, Eimear; Butler, Francis; Cummins, Enda; Nally, Padraig; Mahon, Denise; Henchion, Maeve; Cowan, Cathal (Teagasc, 2005-02)
      A national quantitative risk assessment was undertaken for minced beef in the Republic of Ireland. The objective was to estimate the probability of E. coli O157:H7 infection from consumption of Irish beef and to investigate the parts of the beef chain contributing most to the risk posed by this pathogen.The quantitative risk assessment was broken into 3 main modules: 1) production of boxed beef trimmings; 2) processing of trimmings and burger formation and 3) retail/domestic consumption phase. Key points in each module (beef hide, beef trimmings and beef products at retail) were validated using data derived from microbiology sampling at beef abattoirs, supermarkets and butchers’ shops in Ireland.
    • Ranking hazards pertaining to human health concerns from land application of anaerobic digestate

      Nag, Rajat; Whyte, Paul; Markey, Bryan K.; O'Flaherty, Vincent; Bolton, Declan; Fenton, Owen; Richards, Karl G.; Cummins, Enda; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/SF/847 (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      Anaerobic digestion (AD) has been identified as one of the cleanest producers of green energy. AD typically uses organic materials as feedstock and, through a series of biological processes, produces methane. Farmyard manure and slurry (FYM&S) are important AD feedstock and are typically mixed with agricultural waste, grass and/or food wastes. The feedstock may contain many different pathogens which can survive the AD process and hence also possibly be present in the final digestate. In this study, a semi-quantitative screening tool was developed to rank pathogens of potential health concern emerging from AD digestate. A scoring system was used to categorise likely inactivation during AD, hazard pathways and finally, severity as determined from reported human mortality rates, number of global human-deaths and infections per 100,000 populations. Five different conditions including mesophilic and thermophilic AD and three different pasteurisation conditions were assessed in terms of specific pathogen inactivation. In addition, a number of scenarios were assessed to consider foodborne incidence data from Ireland and Europe and to investigate the impact of raw FYM&S application (without AD and pasteurisation). A sensitivity analysis revealed that the score for the mortality rate (S3) was the most sensitive parameter (rank coefficient 0.49) to influence the final score S; followed by thermal inactivation score (S1, 0.25) and potential contamination pathways (S2, 0.16). Across all the scenarios considered, the screening tool prioritised Cryptosporidium parvum, Salmonella spp., norovirus, Streptococcus pyogenes, enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Mycobacterium spp., Salmonella typhi (followed by S. paratyphi), Clostridium spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter coli as the highest-ranking pathogens of human health concern resulting from AD digestate in Ireland. This tool prioritises potentially harmful pathogens which can emerge from AD digestate and highlights where regulation and intervention may be required.