• 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.
    • Managing new food product development.

      Daly, Eimear; European Union (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The future success of the Irish food industry depends on the ability of companies to develop new skills in a rapidly changing market environment. One such skill is the management of new product development. This report illustrates the impact that training in the product development process had on a range of small to medium enterprises. Training was delivered as a series of interactive workshops covering the key stages of the new product development process. Each company also received up to 7 days consultancy support to facilitate implementation of the learning.
    • The market for speciality foods in Ireland

      Meehan, Hilary; Murphy, Aidan; O'Reilly, Seamus; Bogue, Joe (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      The speciality food sector has experienced above average industry growth over recent years. Most speciality foods are produced in limited quantities using non-industrial artisan techniques. The majority of speciality food producing businesses were set up in the last fifteen years, have a turnover below €635,000, are based in a rural region and employ less than ten people. The most important markets for Irish speciality food producers are the export market, food service and multiple retailers.
    • The Market Potential for in-conversion organic products in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Connolly, Liam; Howlett, Brendan; Meehan, Hilary; Ryan, Jane; Mahon, Denise; McIntyre, Bridin; Fanning, Martin (Teagasc, 2005-08-01)
      This report deals with the market for and financial feasibility of converting from conventional to organic food production in Ireland. All members of the organic supply chain were included in the study i.e. farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers, to examine the potential of a market for conversion grade produce. Conversion products are those produced in the second year of the conversion phase from conventional to organic farming. Products do not attain full organic status until this is completed.
    • The market potential for in-conversion organic products in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Connolly, Liam; Howlett, Brendan; Meehan, Hilary; Ryan, Jane; Mahon, Denise; McIntyre, Bridin; Fanning, Martin; European Commission; QLK-2000-01112 (Teagasc, 2005-08)
      This report deals with the market for and financial feasibility of converting from conventional to organic food production in Ireland. All members of the organic supply chain were included in the study i.e. farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers, to examine the potential of a market for conversion grade produce. Conversion products are those produced in the second year of the conversion phase from conventional to organic farming. Products do not attain full organic status until this is completed.
    • Measuring the lean content of carcasses using TOBEC

      Allen, Paul; McGeehin, Brian (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project examined the potential of two objective methods of measuring the lean and fat content of meat carcasses and cuts. Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) are both based on the different conductivity of lean and fat tissues. TOBEC measures the absorption by a carcass or cut of electrical energy from an electromagnetic field whereas BIA measures the resistance to the flow of an electrical current. TOBEC is a large and relatively expensive piece of equipment that is fully automated. BIA is small and relatively low cost but requires an operator.
    • Mechanical Grading of beef carcasses

      Allen, Paul; Finnerty, Nicholas; European Union; European Union (Teagasc, 2001-10)
      Three beef carcass classification systems that use Video Image Analysis (VIA) technology were tested in two trials at Dawn Meats Midleton, Co. Cork. The VIA systems were BCC2, manufactured by SFK Technology, Denmark, VBS2000, manufactured by E+V, Germany, and VIAscan, manufactured by Meat and Livestock Australia. The first trial, conducted over a 6-week period in July/August 1999, calibrated the VIA systems on a large sample of carcasses and validated these calibrations on a further sample obtained at the same time. The second trial, conducted in the first two weeks of March 2000, was a further validation trial. The reference classification scores were determined by a panel of three experienced classifiers using the EUROP grid with 15 subclasses for conformation class and 15 sub-classes for fat. In the first trial the accuracy of the VIA systems at predicting saleable meat yield in steer carcasses was also assessed.
    • Methods for antibiotic residues in food

      O'Keeffe, Mandy J.; Walshe, Michaela; Horne, Elizabeth; O'Keeffe, Michael; Foran, Shane; Lardner, Caroline; Daly, Tracy; Kane, Marian (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      A comprehensive capability to test for residues of veterinary drugs is an important support for the Irish food industry. There is a requirement for food manufacturers to demonstrate the compliance of their products with stringent customer specifications. In addition, legislative requirements are becoming more exacting both in terms of the range of substances covered and the lower residue levels to which test systems must measure.
    • Methods for veterinary drug residue analysis in food

      O'Keeffe, Michael (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      A comprehensive capability to test for residues of veterinary drugs is an important support for the Irish food industry. There is a requirement for food manufacturers to demonstrate the compliance of their products with stringent customer specifications. In addition, legislative requirements are becoming more exacting both in terms of the range of substances covered and the lower residue levels to which test systems must measure.
    • The microbiological safety and quality of foods processed by the "sous vide" system as a method of commercial catering

      Bolton, Declan J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1998-08)
      The objective of this project was to improve the quality and safety of sous vide foods by investigating the responses of the food-poisoning microorganisms to the processing and storage conditions used in this technology. The major food poisoning bacteria of concern in sous vide foods are strains of Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus, verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (VTEC), Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica.
    • Model System for the Production of Enzyme Modified Cheese (EMC) Flavours.

      Kilcawley, Kieran N; Beresford, Tom; Lee, B.; Wilkinson, M.G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Teagasc, 01/04/2002)
      Natural cheese flavour ingredients, in the form of enzyme modified cheeses (EMCs), are widely used in the convenience food industry and can provide high volume added opportunities for the cheese industry. Many EMCs are produced using commercial enzyme preparations and previous studies have indicated that they contain side activities in addition to their stated main activity (see DPRC Report No.10). Therefore, it is critical that the exact enzyme complement of these preparations are known before they can be used to produce EMC of specific requirements on a consistent basis. The scientific basis of rapid enzyme mediated flavour formation in the production of EMCs is not fully understood. Consequently this knowledge gap is a major obstacle in the development of high value cheese flavour ingredients. Hence, a major objective of this project was to deepen the scientific understanding of flavour formation with a view to the production of natural enzyme-mediated dairy flavour ingredients with commercial potential. The ultimate aim was to develop the technology to produce customised high value dairy flavour ingredients in an optimised process.
    • Molecular Characterisation of Bacteriophage K Towards Applications for the Biocontrol of Pathogenic Staphylococci.

      O'Flaherty, Sarah; Flynn, James; Coffey, Aidan; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Meaney, William J; Ross, R Paul (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      The aim of this work was to characterise staphylococcal bacteriophage (a bacterial virus) and to assess their potential as therapeutic agents against pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus, particularly mastitis-causing strains. The project included the use of two newly isolated phage CS1 and DW2, and an existing polyvalent phage. The new phage were isolated from the farmyard and characterised by electron microscopy and restriction analysis. Both phage were shown to belong to the Siphoviridae family and were lytic for representatives of all three clonal groups of Irish mastitis-associated staphylococci. A cocktail of three phage (CS1, DW2 and K) at 108 (plaque forming units) PFU/ml was infused into cows teats in animal trials. The lack of an increase in somatic cell counts in milks indicated strongly that the phage did not irritate the animal. In addition, the most potent phage used in this study, phage K, was further studied by genome sequencing, which revealed a linear DNA genome of 127,395 base pairs, which encodes 118 putative ORFs (open reading frames). Interesting features of the genome include; 1) a region exhibiting high homology to the structural module from Listeria phage A511, 2) genes which potentially encodes proteins necessary for its own replisome, 3) an absence of GATC sites and 4) three introns encoding putative endonucleases were located in the genome, (two in the putative DNA polymerase gene and one in the lysin gene). Unlike both CS1 and DW2, the polyvalent phage K, exhibited a broad host range within the genus Staphylococcus. In in vitro inhibitory assays, phage K lysed all staphylococcal strains tested including nine different species. In preliminary application-type studies, anti-staphylococcal activity was also evident in a hand wash Project 4942 2 and phage cream. An unexpected result was the observation that phage K was unable to replicate in raw milk, which could limit its applications in mastitis treatments. This may have been due to clumping of the bacteria caused by immunoglobulins. However, inhibition activity was lost after milk was heat-treated. The overall results in this study provide new insights into the biology of the broad host range phage K and indicate that phage K has potential for treatment and prevention of infections caused by pathogenic staphylococci.
    • A nationwide surveillance study on E.coli 0157:H7 and enterobacteriaceae in Irish minced beef products

      Duffy, Geraldine; Cagney, Claire; Crowley, Helen; Sheridan, James J.; Food Safety Authority of Ireland (Teagasc, 2003-04)
      A surveillance study on prevalence and numbers of E . coli O157: H7 in minced beef (unpackaged or packaged) and beefburgers (frozen, fresh and unpackaged or packaged) was carried out over a period of 12 months in the Republic of Ireland. A total of 1533 products were tested with approximately 15 products collected from each of the 26 counties every 3 months. Mince and beefburgers were collected from both supermarkets and butcher shop outlets. A standard analysis was conducted by sample enrichment, IMS extraction and plating onto SMAC agar with confirmation by PCR. The results showed that 43 retail beef products (2.8 %) contained E .coli O157:H7. The number of E .coli O157: H7 in 21 of these samples ranged from log100.51 - 4.03 cfu g-1 ( i.e. 3 to 10,700 bacteria per gram) while in the remaining 22 the pathogen was detectable by enrichment only. There was a seasonal effect observed with 33 of 43 positive samples detected in January (n = 8), April /May(n=20) and August (n=5) and the remaining 10 positive samples detected over the other 8 months. Of the beef products testing positive, 32 were purchased from supermarkets and 11 from butcher shops. E .coli O157:H7 was recovered from 2.8% (13 / 457) of fresh packaged mince and from 1.88 % (3 / 160) of fresh unpackaged burgers purchased from butcher shops. Of the 43 isolates recovered, 41 contained the virulence genes v t1, v t2, E aeA and H lyA while the remaining 2 isolates contained only one of the vtproducing genes (v t1or v t2).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Nitrofurans : measuring tissue-bound residues in meat

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Connolly, Anne; Nugent, Audrey (Teagasc, 2006-08)
      The aims of this project were to (a) develop a range of screening and confirmatory test methods that might be applied to effectively test for the illicit use of the prohibited nitrofuran antimicrobials, (b) study the persistence of nitrofuran antimicrobials as bound metabolite residues in edible tissues and (c) undertake a pan-European survey of the incidence of nitrofurans in retail pork.
    • Nitrofurans: Measuring Tissue-Bound Residues in Meat

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Conneely, Anne; Nugent, Audrey; Downey, Gerard; European Union (Teagasc, 01/08/2006)
      The aims of this project were to (a) develop a range of screening and confirmatory test methods that might be applied to effectively test for the illicit use of the prohibited nitrofuran antimicrobials,(b) study the persistence of nitrofuran antimicrobials as bound metabolite residues inedible tissues and (c) undertake a pan-European survey of the incidence of nitrofurans in retail pork.
    • Novel and Speciality Cheeses - Broadening the National Cheese Base

      Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Wilkinson, M.G.; Beresford, Tom; Meehan, Hilary; Cowan, Cathal; Delahunty, Conor; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Kelly, Alan L. (Teagasc, 2002-04-01)
      The Irish dairy industry is considered vulnerable to the price pressures of the commodity market, on which it is highly dependent. Hence, a broadening of the product base, would reduce exposure to this market while offering the potential of exploiting the lucrative added value market. This involves risks and challenges. The cheese market in particular continues to grow and investment in innovative products have in some cases been highly successful. However, a number of obstacles confront Irish cheese manufacturers. These include: seasonality of milk supply, strong tradition of Cheddar production, knowledge gaps in industrial-scale specialty cheese manufacture, and a reticence to commit significant investment, particularly in plant. To address some of these obstacles a project was undertaken with the overall objective of developing a range of cheeses with novel flavour, texture and appearance which were complementary to existing manufacturing plant and technologies. The project was built on the knowledge, skills base and flexible cheese manufacturing plant developed in a previous study (see DPRC Report No. 9), and had the following specific objectives: * assess consumer preferences, * develop a range of novel cheeses capable of being manufactured wholly, or in part, on existing plant, * determine the effects of manipulation of process variables on novel hybrid composition and ripening, * assess market potential and consumer reaction to selected cheeses, * determine the relationships between cheese composition and sensory characteristics, and * present product options to Irish industry.
    • Novel Milk Protein Ingredients.

      Kelly, Philip M.; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Cribbin, M. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      The manufacture of casein/caseinates containing whey protein is immediately attractive due to its potential to enhance product yield. However, some technologies capable of producing these products are ineligible for manufacturing subsidy because of restrictions pertaining to relevant EU regulations. Other emerging technologies require refinement and process design before implementation at industrial level. Furthermore, the implications of incorporating virtually the entire complement of whey protein in what is essentially a caseinate ingredient needs to be investigated carefully in terms of the versatility of use in a wide range of food formulations. The development is significant in the context of U.S. market changes - traditionally, an important outlet for Irish casein exports amounting to 20,000 - 27,000 t per annum. Ireland accounts for ~ 30% of EU casein/caseinate production with the greater proportion in Rennet form (27,000 t) and the remainder (18,000 t) as Acid casein. In recent years, a new market for a related casein ingredient - milk protein concentrate (MPC) opened up in the US, and accounted for total imports of 40,000 t in 1998, 10,000 t of which were exported from Ireland. However, this market is more restricted due to regulatory changes introduced in response to the perceived threat of MPC imports to the US dairy industry. Since casein, or its derivative products such as milk proteinate (EU Annex III compliant), are not perceived to be in competition with local milk supplies and dairy ingredients, it is now hoped that Irish casein manufacturers may be able to reclaim recently lost markets through the introduction of an innovative proteinate ingredient which is expected to command a premium in nutrition applications e.g. in sports, infant formula and nutraceutical products. With a choice of emerging new technologies for the production of novel casein-related ingredients, the dairy industry has an opportunity to decide on what is appropriate for the defence of its market share and at the same time benefit from simultaneous compliance with relevant regulatory supports (EU) and market access rules (USA). Hence the main aims of this project were: * To investigate new technologies for the isolation of casein and casein/whey protein combinations in the course of developing new milk protein ingredients, and * To compare the performance in selected food formulations of novel milk protein ingredients namely milk proteinates, milk protein concentrates, native phosphocasein and classical Annex III casein products.