• Food Market studies in - meat packaging, nutritional meat products, speciality cheeses, extruded meats

      Cowan, Cathal; Meehan, Hilary; McIntyre, Bridin; Cronin, Tom (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project provided market information to researchers on the likely market success of their innovations in the following four areas: anoxic (oxygen free) packaging, developing new meat products with enhanced nutritional properties & consumer acceptability, speciality cheeses, and convenience meat products.
    • Food residue database

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Kennedy, Orla; Farrell, Frank; Nolan, Marie-Louise; Dooley, Martin; Byrne, Patrick; Nugent, Audrey; Cantwell, Helen; Horne, Elizabeth; Nelson, Victor; et al. (Teagasc, 2001-11)
      The Food Residue Database contains a broad range of residue studies in foods of animal origin for the period 1995 to 2000, covering veterinary drugs, pesticides and contaminants. In most cases, such as antiparasitic drugs, beta-agonists, pesticides, dioxins, mycotoxins, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the picture for Irish dairy, meat and fish products is good with residue levels being low or non-measurable. In a few cases, such as ivermectin in farmed salmon and tetracycline residues in pork, improvements in the situation were observed with subsequent studies. Antimicrobial residues, in general, are not a problem but levels above MRL values have been found indicating the need for good practice in use of veterinary medicines. A problem with elevated nitrate levels in dairy powders may be resolved by the industry through observance of good manufacturing practices. Summary Reports on all the studies carried out for the Food Residue Database are available to food companies and other interested parties.
    • Food-related lifestyle (frl) segments and the speciality foods market in Great Britain

      Cowan, Cathal; Wycherley, Aoife; McCarthy, Mary (Teagasc, 2008-06)
      This report deals with the speciality food orientation of British consumers. Two approaches to segmentation were taken which were related to two project objectives. Firstly, to understand the degree to which food-related lifestyle (FRL) segments identified in Great Britain in 2003 (Buckley et al., 2003) are speciality orientated and secondly, to segment British consumers based on their speciality food orientation. This study provides an insight into what motivates individuals to purchase speciality foods.
    • Freeze-chilling and gas flushing of raw fish fillets

      Fagan, John; Gormley, Ronan T.; Uí Mhuircheartaigh, Mary M. (Teagasc, 2003-04)
      Freeze-chilling involves freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and chilled storage. Trials with whiting and mackerel fillets/portions (Part 1) indicated no difference in odour scores (raw samples) between freeze-chilled and chilled samples; however, freeze-chilled salmon portions were inferior to chilled in terms of odour. Fresh fillets received the highest acceptability scores as cooked samples followed by frozen, chilled and freeze-chilled fillets. Freshness indicators were the same for the three species. Freeze-chilled fillets had the highest free fatty acid and peroxide values but the levels were low and did not influence sensory response. The effects of the four treatments on the colour and texture of the raw fillets were small in practical terms and typical shelf-lives in the chill phase of the freeze-chill process were 3 to 5 days. In Part 2, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) was combined with freezechilling to further extend the shelf-life of raw whiting, mackerel and salmon fillets/portions. Typical shelf-lives in the chill phase for the freeze-chilled fillets were 5 (whiting and mackerel) and 7 (salmon) days. Good manufacturing practice coupled with HACCP and careful tempering (thawing) are essential for the successful freeze-chilling of raw fish fillets. Packs should be labelled ‘previously frozen’ for consumer information. It is concluded that freeze-chilling with MAP is a suitable technology for extending the shelf-life of raw fish fillets.
    • Freeze-chilling of ready-to-eat meal components

      Redmond, Grainne; Gormley, Ronan T.; Butler, Francis; Dempsey, Alan; Oxley, Eamon; Gerety, Ailis (Teagasc, 2004-03)
      Freeze-chilling of food consists of freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and then retailing at chill storage temperatures. It offers logistic, transportation and storage advantages to food manufacturers. Freeze-chilling has particular application to ready-meals and their components. Mashed potato (three cultivars), steamed carrots, steamed green beans and beef lasagne were found suitable for freeze-chilling and their quality and sensory properties compared favourably with their frozen, chilled and fresh counterparts. Modified atmosphere packaging was combined with freeze-chilling but it had little impact on shelflife extension for the product range with the outcome similar to that for samples packed in air. Tests on the freeze-chilling of white sauces showed the importance of using freeze-thaw stable starches. Best-practice thawing procedures were established and the importance of stacking configurations for outer boxes (each with a number of lasagne ready-meals) was highlighted in the case of the commercial tempering unit. Trials on the re-freezing of freeze-chilled products indicated that re-freezing is an option provided the normal storage protocols for frozen and chilled foods are observed.
    • Functional Foods in Relation to Health and Disease (New Probiotic Cheddar Cheese).

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Collins, K.; Gardiner, Gillian E. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Growing public awareness of diet-related health benefits has fuelled the demand for probiotic foods. These foods contain probiotic bacteria which are described as live microbial supplements that improve the intestinal microbial balance and are intended for maintenance of health and/or the prevention of disease. Probiotic bacteria for human use must be proven to be safe and beneficial, and should preferably be of human origin as evidence suggests that these bacteria are species specific and perform best in the species from which they were isolated. They must also retain both viability and efficacy in a particular food product throughout its shelf-life, and following consumption. Above all however, probiotic food products must be proved effective in controlled validated clinical trials. Dairy foods, including in particular, fermented milks and yogurt are among the best accepted food carriers for probiotic cultures. The aim of this study was to develop new probiotic foods, particularly, the production of high quality Cheddar cheese containing high levels of probiotic bacteria.
    • Functional ingredients as fat replacers in cakes and pastries

      Dwyer, Elizabeth; Gallagher, Eimear (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      For specific health concerns, consumers want fat taken out of food without the flavour and texture being adversely affected. Novel ingredients were investigated for use in the formulation of reduced fat bakery products. Formulations were developed for reduced fat muffins, madeira cake and shortcrust pastry by replacing some of the fat in the recipes with combinations of novel ingredients. The aim was to achieve at least a 25% fat reduction in the products while maintaining quality, texture, taste and consumer acceptability. Focus groups were used to ascertain consumers’ preferences for the reduced fat bakery products to determine which, if any, recipes had greatest potential for further development.
    • Future Perspectives on Rural Areas.

      Commins, Patrick (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      The aim of this project was to project the potential impact of post-2000 economic and policy changes on Irish rural areas. It was intended originally to use a model-building approach in collaboration with the University of Missouri but this did not prove feasible. Instead, a possible scenario of future change for the rural economy was developed under four headings: • number of farms and the size of the farm labour force • agricultural structures • employment and enterprise • population and settlement. The scenario is based on assessment of current trends, on key assumptions about the future, and on the likely directions of relevant policies.
    • Gender Relations and Women’s Off-farm Employment: a critical analysis of discourses

      Hanrahan, Sheena (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      This project addresses gender relations on dairy farms in Irish Republic. Its aim was to explore the way women who are married to farmers but who are employed in paid employment off the farm are constructed in agricultural policy discourse. It was proposed that discourses encapsulate the values and interests of powerful actors and are constitutive in their effect. Hence they are implicated in women’s experience of life within a ‘farm family’. Following on from this it may be said that women’ s continued subordination in Irish farming or indeed their chances of achieving equal status are circumscribed by dominant discourses.

      Shrestha, Shailesh; Hennessy, Thia; European Commission (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      GENEDEC was a European project funded under the 6th Framework. It was co-ordinated by INRA Grignon with ten European partners and a time frame of 42 months. The purpose of the project was to conduct a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the decoupling of direct payments on agricultural production, markets and land use in the EU. It was envisaged that the pan-EU nature of the project would facilitate an international comparison of the effects of decoupling and would provide policy makers with sufficient information to identify the key winners and losers from decoupling throughout the EU. The project aimed to provide insights into the workability of decoupling and its impacts, and to analyse alternative policy options to improve the agricultural support system. Specifically, through the use of farm level models, this project estimated the effects of existing and proposed decoupled support schemes on production, land use and land prices and the implications for farm incomes and the future structural development of farms. The project was divided into 9 Work Packages depending on objectives and time frame of the project. The main role of RERC Teagasc was in Work Package 2 which aimed to develop farm level mathematical models and used the models developed to determine the impact of decoupling on Irish farms. The work in RERC started in November 2004 and ended in May 2006. A brief description of the models developed and results generated by RERC is provided here.
    • Genetic Analysis of Irish Populations of Phytophthora Infestans

      Dowley, L.J.; O'Sullivan, Eugene; Griffin, Denis; Harmey, M. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary, the causal agent of potato late blight is best known for its role in the great Irish famine of 1845-1849 which resulted in the deaths of over 1 million people. Since then, the disease has become established in all potato growing countries and is the most important pathogen of potatoes worldwide. The appearance of resistance to the phenylamide fungicides in the late 1970’s indicated that populations of P. infestans were changing. An antiresistance strategy was developed for growers in an effort to reduce the spread of resistant strains. Subsequently the A2 mating type of the fungus was discovered in 1989 promoting fears that a super strain of the fungus could evolve through sexual reproduction. Populations of the fungus have been monitored from 1981 to 1998 for levels of phenylamide resistance and since 1988 for the A2 mating type. Physiological race surveys were conducted in 1983 and 1996. Prior to the 1980s no reliable methods were available for adequate identification of genotypes. Development of molecular markers specific to P. infestans has made this possible and a survey was conducted on isolates from the 1996 population. Results confirm that the anti-resistance strategy for phenylamide based fungicides has been effective in preventing the build up of metalaxyl resistant populations of P. infestans. During the 1990’s the distribution of phenylamide resistance has remained stable at about 50% of crops tested compared to a high of over 80 % in 1981. The level of A2 in the population has also fallen from a high of 35% of isolates tested in 1989 to a static level of 3-4 % in the 1990’s. Physiological race composition has become much more complex since 1983 and 16 different physiological races were found in Ireland in 1996. The population was dominated by race which accounted for over 54% of isolates tested. This change has taken place without a corresponding change to varieties with a complex Rgene base. Twelve different genotypes of the fungus were uncovered using the multilocus probe RG57. Races of the fungus were independent of genotype. One particular genotype IE-2 was predominantly associated with phenylamide resistance. The low population diversity discovered suggests that sexual reproduction between A1 and A2 types has not been a major factor in disease epidemiology to date. Super strains similar to those identified in the USA could not be confirmed. The overall level of variation in the Irish isolates of Phytophthora infestans would confirm that the population has become progressively more diverse during the last forty years. However, the population is much less complex than that found in the highland tropics of central Mexico.
    • Genetic and non-genetic factors affecting lamb growth and carcass quality.

      Hanrahan, James P (Teagasc, 1999-05-01)
      The work undertaken under this project concerned the effects of genetic and non-genetic factors on lamb growth, both pre and post-weaning, and carcass traits. The principal objective of the genetic studies was to estimate the performance effects of selecting terminal sires on the basis of the lean meat index (LMI) which is produced for pedigree lambs in flocks that participate in the national Breed Improvement Programme operated by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The merits of the Beltex breed, recently introduced to this country, were also evaluated on comparisons with Texel and Suffolk sires. Estimates of within-breed genetic variation for growth and carcass traits were obtained.
    • Genetic Variants of Milk Proteins - Relevance to Milk Composition and Cheese Production.

      Fitzgerald, Richard J.; Walsh, Daniel; Guinee, Timothy P.; Murphy, J.J.; Mehra, Raj; Harrington, D.; Connolly, J.F. (Teagasc, 1999-07-01)
      Objectives: (i) to develop rapid screening procedures for the determination of milk protein polymorphism (genetic variants) (ii) to determine the frequency distribution of milk protein genetic variants in a large population of Irish Holstein-Friesians and to determine if there was an association between κ-casein variant and milk yield and composition in this group of animals, and (iii) to make Cheddar and low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese from different κ-casein genetic variant milks and to assess any effect on cheese yield, composition and functional characteristics. Conclusions:Analysis of 6,007 individual Irish Holstein-Friesian milks showed that the phenotype distribution of the κ-casein BB variant was very low at 1.98% compared to 53.07% for κ-casein AA and 44.95% for κ-casein AB. While no statistically significant associations were observed between κ-casein variant and milk yield and composition, κ-casein BB variant milks had superior rennet coagulation properties to that of the AA or AB variants. Generally, κ-casein variant had little effect on compositional attributes of cheese apart from FDM (fat in dry matter) which was significantly higher in cheeses from κ-casein BB milk than in those from κ-casein AA milk. Generally, κ-casein variant had no significant effects on either primary or secondary proteolysis, or on the sensory and/or textural characteristics of Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese throughout ripening; or on the functional characteristics (e.g. flow and stretch) of baked Mozzarella on storage for 90 days at 4°C. However, κ-casein BB variant milk gave significantly higher actual, and moisture adjusted yields of Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese than either κ-casein AB or AA variant milks. For example, the moisture adjusted Cheddar yield from κ-casein BB milk was 8.2% higher than from κ-casein AA milk. In the case of Mozzarella, the moisture adjusted yield was 12% higher. Based on the results, it is estimated that the actual yield of cheese in a plant producing 20,000 tonnes per year from κ-casein AA milk would increase to approximately 21,180 tonnes of Cheddar, or 21,780 tonnes of Mozzarella if made from κ-casein BB milk. Where κ-casein AB milk is used instead of κ-casein BB milk, the estimated yield of Mozzarella would increase to 21,580 tonnes.
    • Grazing and ensiling of energy-rich grasses with elevated sugar contents for the sustainable production of ruminant livestock (Acronym: SweetGrass)

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Conaghan, Patrick; Howard, H.; Moloney, Aidan P; Black, Alistair D (Teagasc, 2005-09-01)
      Permanent grassland dominates the Irish landscape and for many decades perennial ryegrasses have been the main constituent in seed mixtures for grassland. The main attractions in favour of perennial ryegrass swards are that they: x produce high yields in response to fertiliser nitrogen x have a high digestibility when harvested at the appropriate growth stage x are relatively easy to preserve as silage due to their superior content of sugar x persist as permanent swards where favourable management practices prevail If the phenotype of perennial ryegrass were to be improved, one potentially desirable trait would be an elevated concentration of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC). This could confer benefits in terms of: x further increase the probability of achieving a lactic acid dominant fermentation during ensilage. This could reduce the requirement for traditional acid- or sugar-based additives, improve the likelihood of a positive response from additives based on homofermentative lactic acid bacteria or alternatively eliminate the need for any or the currently available conventional additive. If its effect was to improve silage preservation this should positively impact on dry matter (DM) recovery, improve animal productivity and potential product quality, and reduce N loss to the environment. x improve the opportunity to produce silage with an elevated concentration of WSC. In circumstances where little or no supplementary concentrate feedstuffs were offered with silage, higher residual WSC could enhance silage intake and digestion, thereby improving animal productivity and reducing urinary loss of N. x produce a grass with higher intake characteristics during grazing, resulting in improved or more efficient animal production. x better synchronise or balance the supply of a rapidly fermentable carbon source (e.g. WSC) with soluble N compounds in the rumen of cattle or sheep. This could be important with grazing animals in spring and particularly in autumn when grass N content can be relatively high. Improved synchronisation or balance could potentially improve animal productivity and reduce urinary loss of N.
    • Grazing and ensiling of energy-rich grasses with elevated sugar contents for the sustainable production of ruminant livestock (Acronym: SweetGrass)

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Conaghan, Patrick; Howard, H.; Moloney, Aidan P; Black, Alistair D; European Union; QLK5-CT-2001-0498 (Teagasc, 2005-09-01)
      Permanent grassland dominates the Irish landscape and for many decades perennial ryegrasses have been the main constituent in seed mixtures for grassland.
    • HACCP for Irish beef, pork and lamb slaughter

      Bolton, Declan; Sheridan, James J.; US-Ireland Co-operation Programme in Agriculture Science and Technology; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      It is generally accepted that HACCP principles should be incorporated into the food safety control systems in meat processing plants to better assure food safety. The objective of this project was to publish detailed HACCP slaughter documents for the Irish beef, pork and lamb processing industries. These would provide the necessary information and detail to facilitate the implementation of HACCP on the slaughter floor (from lairage to chilling) in Irish meat plants. To this end `HACCP for Irish Beef Slaughter' was published in October 2000, `HACCP for Irish Pork Slaughter' in December 2001 and `HACCP for Irish Lamb Slaughter' will be available early in 2002. These are non-generic, detailed documents which provide the scientific basis for establishing critical control points (CCP), critical limits, monitoring and corrective action procedures.
    • Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) and hygiene control auditing in Irish beef abattoirs

      Bolton, Declan; Pearce, Rachel; Tergny, Annabel; Howlett, Brendan (Teagasc, 2007-06)
      This project validated two innovative technologies for use in improving the safety of Irish beef. Online monitoring was developed and successfully tested as a tool for controlling faecal contamination on beef carcasses with the resultant reduction in microbial counts. A novel anti-microbial, LactiSAL®, was also tested and validated for use in the beef industry. Sponge swabbing using a polyurethane sponge was developed and validated for use in carcass testing as required in European Commission Decision 2001/471/EC. The costs of developing and implementing a HACCP system in Irish beef slaughter plants were assessed. Furthermore, a guide to relevant food safety legislation, including the development and auditing of HACCP and prerequisites for beef slaughter (in compliance with 2001/471/EC and the European Commission Hygiene Regulations), was developed and published.
    • Herbicide Efficacy Evaluation

      Mitchell, B.J. (Teagasc, 2201-03-01)
      The objective of this series of trials was to determine if recently introduced herbicide formulations give better weed control in cereals and grassland than those presently in use. Effect on crop yield and quality was also examined where appropriate. In 1995, field trials were carried out with a new diflufenican/flurtamone formulation, Bacara, in winter wheat and barley. In both cases, the results showed that this new formulation gave commercially acceptable weed control of a wide range of annual weeds and grasses, when applied at doses between 260 and 350 g a.i. per hectare. None of the products tested had any adverse effects on crop yield or quality. Between 1996 and 1998 a number of new sulfonylurea herbicides, based on carfentrazone and flupyrsulfuron methyl (Lexus series), were tested at trial sites in Carlow and Clonmel. Most of the formulations gave weed control similar to Cougar, which was included in all these trials as standard comparison treatment, without affecting crop yield or quality. New herbicide trials for the control of broad and curled leaf dock (Rumex spp.) in pasture were carried out. Most of the herbicides investigated gave better overall control of both species than the standard dicamba/mecoprop based products. One of the sulfonylyurea-based herbicides controlled broad leaf dock only, and occasionally retarded grass development, but had no effect on clover. Fluroxypyr-based products gave long term control of both dock species without any effect on the grass, but eliminated clover present in the sward. In all trials some dock regrowth was evident one year after treatment.
    • High Pressure Processing of Dairy Foods

      Donnelly, W.J.; Beresford, Tom; Lane, C.N.; Walsh-O'Grady, D.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Fitzgerald, Richard J.; Murphy, P.M.; O'Reilly, Conor; Morgan, S.M.; Ross, R Paul; et al. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      The term High Pressure Processing (HPP) is used to describe the technology whereby products are exposed to very high pressures in the region of 50 - 800 MPa (500 - 8000 Atmospheres). The potential application of HPP in the food industry has gained popularity in recent years, due to developments in the construction of HPP equipment which makes the technology more affordable. Applying HPP to food products results in modifications to interactions between individual components, rates of enzymatic reactions and inactivation of micro-organisms. The first commercial HPP products appeared on the market in 1991 in Japan, where HPP is now being used commercially for products such as jams, sauces, fruit juices, rice cakes and desserts. The pioneering research into the application of HPP to milk dates back to the end of the 19th century. Application of HPP to milk has been shown to modify its gel forming characteristics as well as reducing its microbial load. HPP offers the potential to induce similar effects to those generated by heat on milk protein. Recent reports have also indicated that HPP could accelerate the ripening of cheese. Much of the Irish cheese industry is based on the production of Cheddar cheese, the ripening time for which can vary from 4 - 12 months or more, depending on grade. A substantial portion of the cost associated with Cheddar manufacture is therefore attributed to storage under controlled conditions during ripening. Thus, any technology which may accelerate the ripening of Cheddar cheese while maintaining a balanced flavour and texture is of major economic significance. While food safety is a dominant concern, consumers are increasingly demanding foods that maintain their natural appearance and flavour, while free of chemical preservatives. HPP offers the food industry the possibility of achieving these twin goals as this technology can lead to reduced microbial loads without detrimentally effecting the nutritional or sensory qualities of the product. The development of food ingredients with novel functional properties offers the dairy industry an opportunity to revitalise existing markets and develop new ones. HPP can lead to modifications in the structure of milk components, in particular protein, which may provide interesting possibilities for the development of high value nutritional and functional ingredients. Hence these projects set out to investigate the potential of HPP in the dairy industry and to identify products and processes to which it could be applied.
    • High pressure technology in the manufacture of minimally-processed meat products

      Troy, Declan J.; Crehan, Clodagh; Mullen, Anne Maria; Desmond, Eoin (Teagasc, 2001-07)
      High hydrostatic pressure processing was applied to raw minced meat prior to product formulation and the results indicate that with 50 MPa pressure it was possible to reduce the salt in frankfurters from 2.5% to 1.5% without compromising the safety and overall quality. Similarly the phosphate content of frankfurters could be reduced from 0.5% to 0.25% after pressure treatment. Cook loss from the treated frankfurters was significantly reduced indicating a higher yield of product due to the high pressure.