• Adding value to beef forequarter muscles

      Kenny, Tony; Lennon, Ann; Ward, Patrick; Sullivan, Paul; McDonald, Karl; Downey, Gerard; O'Neill, Eileen (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      The forequarter constitutes 50% of the weight of a beef carcase but only about 25% of its value. To fulfill the objectives of this project, the work was organised into 4 parts as follows: 1.Characterisation of the available raw material, in terms of properties of individual muscles seamed out from carcasses of representative types of animals produced in Ireland. 2.Comparison of yields and operator time for seaming and conventional boning. 3.Utilisation of separated muscles in added-value products using appropriate tenderising, bonding and forming technology. 4.Transfer of the knowledge and technology to the industry.
    • Adding value to under-utilised fish species

      Fagan, John; Gormley, Ronan T.; Mitchell, Michelle; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2006-02)
      Tightening fish quotas and supply shortages for conventional species are causing major difficulties for both fishermen and seafood processors. There is a need, therefore, to explore the potential of underutilised fish species both as fillets or portions and as added-value products. The current project at Ashtown Food Research Centre (AFRC) addressed this issue for a number of underutilised species via (a) sous vide processing (with savoury sauces),(b)marinating (salt- and sugar-based marinades) and (c) via a combination of freeze-chilling and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).A range of physico-chemical and sensory tests was conducted on the products and their shelf-life status was also determined.
    • Current food safety priorities : report on the European Union risk analysis information network (EU - RAIN)

      Maunsell, Bláithín; Bolton, Declan; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2006-04)
      An estimated 10 to 30% of the population in industrialised countries suffers food-borne illness annually, resulting in an unacceptable social (human suffering) and economic (health care and lost working days) cost. Risk analysis, a proactive preventative approach to food safety, was the focus of the European Union Risk Analysis Information Network (EU-RAIN) concerted action project. Funded by the European Commission, this project commenced in March 2003 and concluded in February 2006.
    • Enhancing the healthiness, shelf-life and flavour of Irish fresh packaged beef

      Moloney, Aidan P; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J.; O'Grady, Michael; Kerry, Joseph P.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      Consumer concern about the nutritional aspects of health has heightened interest in developing methods for manipulation of the fatty acid composition of ruminant products. Ruminant meats such as beef and lamb are often criticised by nutritionists for having high amounts of saturated (S) fatty acids and low levels of polyunsaturated (P) fatty acids. The P:S ratio in beef is approximately 0.1, the ideal being about 0.4. However, an excessive increase in P concentration could predispose beef lipids to rancidity and loss of shelflife. Moreover, the colour of meat is an important influence on the purchase decision of the consumer. This report summarises the Teagasc contribution to a larger project supported under the Food Institutional Research Measure programme administrated by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The Teagasc contribution focused on enhancing the fatty acid composition of beef by nutritional manipulation of cattle using grazing and plant oils, the use of healthy - fatty acid enriched bovine tissue to make a processed beef product and the efficacy of dietary inclusion of tea catechins and rosemary to enhance the shelf-life of beef.
    • Food Authentication using Infrared Spectroscopic Methods

      Downey, Gerard; Kelly, J. Daniel (Teagasc, 01/06/2006)
      Confirmation of the authenticity of a food or food ingredient is an increasing challenge for food processors and regulatory authorities. This is especially the case when an added-value claim, such as one relating to geographic origin or a particular processing history, is made on the food label. Regulatory agencies are concerned with the prevention of economic fraud while the food processor needs confirmation of such claims in order to protect a brand, the image of which could be severely damaged should an adulterated ingredient make its way into the branded food product.To be of greatest value, any analytical tool deployed to confirm authenticity claims needs to be portable, easy to use, non-destructive and accurate. Infrared spectroscopy, near and mid-infrared, is a tool which has been demonstrated to possess these properties in a wide range of situations.While some applications in food authenticity have been reported, the work undertaken in this project was designed to explore their capabilities regarding a number of products and authenticity issues of particular interest to the Irish agri-food industry i.e. olive oil, honey, soft fruit purées and apple juice.
    • Food authentication using infrared spectroscopic methods

      Downey, Gerard; Kelly, J. Daniel (Teagasc, 2006-06)
      Confirmation of the authenticity of a food or food ingredient is an increasing challenge for food processors and regulatory authorities. This is especially the case when an added-value claim, such as one relating to geographic origin or a particular processing history, is made on the food label. Regulatory agencies are concerned with the prevention of economic fraud while the food processor needs confirmation of such claims in order to protect a brand, the image of which could be severely damaged should an adulterated ingredient make its way into the branded food product.
    • Indicator organisms to determine the use of chilling as a critical point in beef slaughter HACCP

      Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Sheridan, James J.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      During chilling, temperatures of carcass surfaces at different sites change over time as do other parameters such as water activity (aw), the structure of the muscle and other tissues, as the carcass enters rigor mortis. Many of these factors are known to have a major effect on cell survival and growth and must be considered in determining the influence of chilling on bacterial survival on carcass surfaces. This study aimed to determine if chilling could be used as a critical control point (CCP) in beef slaughter in relation to pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes, using E. coli and Listeria innocua as pathogen indicators. The present study was designed to determine the influence of (a) chilling at 10oC for 72 h on the survival of E. coli and (b) chilling at 4oC for 72 h on the survival of L. innocua inoculated at different sites on beef carcasses. Three sites (neck, outside round and brisket) were inoculated (1) immediately after dressing while hot (E. coli and L. innocua) and (2) when cold after chilling (L. innocua). The influence of changes in surface aw was also considered and their relationship to the survival of E. coli and L. innocua over time was assessed. The data are discussed in relation to the use of chilling as a CCP in beef hazard analysis (HACCP) and the monitoring of neck temperature as the most suitable CCP.
    • Key factors influencing economic relationships and communication in European agri-food chains

      Henchion, Maeve; McIntyre, Bridin; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-09)
      The project considered meat and cereal commodities in six EU countries. In total thirteen agri-food chains were examined: five pig-to-pigmeat chains, three cattle-to-beef chains, two barley-to-beer chains and three cereals-to-bakery product chains. The pig-to-pigmeat and cattle-to-beef chains were examined in Ireland.
    • Near Infrared Spectroscopy in the Food Industry: A Tool of Quality Management.

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/03/1999)
      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. NIR spectroscopy provides the food processor with information. This information may describe how much of a given substance is present in a mixture or how the overall quality of the substance compares to a reference material e.g. a previous batch of raw material, finished goods or a competitor’s product. This report provides some examples of precompetitive R&D on representative qualitative and quantitative problems in a range of foods and food ingredients. The use of NIR spectra collected within 24 hours of slaughter to predict beef tenderness 14 days later shows considerable promise. Non-destructive monitoring of flesh composition in farmed salmon has paved the way for the efficient use of expensive feed materials while the content of each species in binary mixtures of minced beef and lamb has been accurate enough to suggest the use of NIR spectroscopy as a rapid screening tool by regulatory agencies, food processors and retailers. Classification of a range of food ingredients (including skim milk powder and flour) into one of a number of functionally-discrete categories has been successfully achieved with levels of accuracy high enough to warrant immediate industry utilisation i.e. greater than 90% for skim milk powders and 97% in the case of flour. Species confirmation in a number of raw minced meats (chicken, turkey, pork, beef and lamb) has been achieved with over 90% accuracy in feasibility studies. Calibrations transferred from one NIR instrument to another lose accuracy because of differences in instrument construction, sample presentation and other factors. A research effort has recently been applied to this problem of transferability and results are available for both scanning and fixed filter instruments. The success achieved opens the way for using NIR results obtained in different companies or countries as an uncontested basis for trade.
    • New product development opportunities for Irish companies in the British cheese market

      Cowan, Cathal; Downey, Gerard; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      The primary objective of this research was to identify innovative cheese concepts appropriate for UK consumers and suitable for Irish industry to manufacture. It also aimed to identify personal, situational and market factors that influence consumers when purchasing cheese. This research study used existing market literature, in-depth interviews and consumer focus groups.
    • Overview of seafood research at Ashtown food research centre (1990 - 2007)

      Gormley, Ronan T.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-02)
      In recent years, the Irish seafood industry has faced stringent quotas and dwindling fish stocks. The introduction of fish farming added a new dimension but falling prices also created difficulties for this sector. However, the recent report of the Seafood Industry Strategy Group on ‘Steering a New Course’ and the Sea Change Programme of the Marine Institute will add new impetus to the industry. The current report summarises R&D on seafood conducted at Ashtown Food Research Centre (AFRC) in the period 1990-2007 and represents a major portion of seafood R&D conducted nationally during that period.
    • A risk assessment and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) study for the Irish catering industry

      Bolton, Declan; Meally, Aisling; Downey, Gerard; Safefood (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      This report provides details of a food safety knowledge survey, a microbiological survey, a chilled temperature survey and an audit conducted in 200 restaurants throughout the island of Ireland. The results suggest a low incidence of several bacterial pathogens (including Salmonella enterica) and identify areas in which food safety knowledge, procedures and practices should be improved. Salmonella enterica isolates were characterised and the results suggested distinct pockets of different serotypes. Growth curves for L. monocytogenes isolates suggest considerably reduced shelf-life for a variety of foods. For example, lettuce should not be stored at room temperature or the shelf-life is reduced from 6.5 days (chilled storage) to 3.3 days.The predicted shelf-life for fresh milk was 4.5 days (chilled storage). Chlorine (sodium hypochlorite, 5 ppm), 1-monolauroyl-rac-glycerol and a laurate ester (ester-glucoside laurate) were also tested for application as vegetable decontaminating agents in restaurant kitchens. The report concludes with recommendations for improved food safety and hygiene in Irish restaurants.
    • Second Generation GM Foods: Perspectives on Likely Future Acceptance by Irish Consumers

      O'Connor, Elaine; Cowan, Cathal; Williams, Gwilym; O'Connell, John J.; Boland, Maurice; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/07/2005)
      Two hypothetical second-generation genetically-modified (GM) products, a yogurt and a dairy spread, were evaluated by consumers. Second-generation GM food products offer specific consumer benefits - in the case of this study, health benefits.
    • Surface decontamination of meat using thermal processes

      McCann, Máiréad; Sheridan, James J.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      This study investigated the effectiveness of a novel heat apparatus for decontamination of meat surfaces inoculated with important foodborne pathogens using either steam or dry air.
    • Technology transfer of research results (The 2xtra project)

      McDonagh, Ciara; Byrne, Briege; Troy, Declan J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; Downey, Gerard; European Commission; European Union (Teagasc, 2008-02)
      The 2XTRA project (Technology Transfer Research Results Atlantic Area) was carried out with the aim of promoting economic activity based on research results and technologies developed within universities, research and technology institutes and companies in the European Atlantic Area. This collaborative work was carried out by a strong partnership of 13 entities across this region and included universities, research and technology institutes, private consultants and TBC (technology-based company) incubators. The specific goals of the project were: ● The exchange of information and experiences on technology transfer (TT) with a view to assisting project partners directly and feeding into their regional innovation systems. ● The promotion of new technology-based companies by drawing on collective experiences and developing methodologies relating to - identification and evaluation of business ideas - production of business plans, and - support of early stage companies internationalising. ● The creation of an Atlantic Area Network to support and promote technology-based companies (TBCs) and the technology transfer process. These objectives were achieved through defined activities carried out in three separate stages of this project.
    • 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.