Researchers at University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol announced they are working with food producer Fresca Group and technology partners Norman Pendred and Co. and Bridge Biotechnology have joined forces on microbial research and technology aimed at looking at improving the storage life of fresh produce.
The team aims to develop a practical means of controlling food spoilage, storage-life and shelf life of post-harvest produce whilst also minimizing microbiological contamination from contact surfaces, collectively helping to reduce waste and improve food security and food safety. The team plan to develop a manufacturing process innovation, which is to be implemented within commercial processing practice, initially the cold storage of fresh produce. The systems the team hopes to develop will be easily integrated within current manufacturing, processing and operating procedures, at a number of stages throughout the food supply chain.
"To put this work into context, if we can add just one day to the life of fruit or vegetables through using novel microbial management methods we can make an enormous difference," says UWE Bristol's professor Darren Reynolds, the academic lead for the project. "For example, at the moment up to 30 percent of potatoes can be lost during the supply chain before they even reach the table and this is a catastrophe that is simply unsustainable. Microbiological management is one of the most important practices in post-harvest fresh produce processing and manufacturing for the control of spoilage organisms, environmental pathogens and food borne diseases, helping maintain produce quality and reduce supply chain waste."
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