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- January 1, 2004 -
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impact statement impact
- Safety issues due to unintentional contamination and even sabotage of prepared foods are being addressed in several ways, including the use of predictive tools, as predictive microbiology is beginning to be accepted by the USDA, the FDA, and state regulators for specific products in their push for science-based regulations. We developed a versatile and robust software that will greatly enhance the predictive ability. Computer simulation of a food process can be an important tool for safe food product, process, and equipment designers by reducing the amount of experimentation and by providing a level of insight that is often not possible experimentally. Such simulation capability (i.e. checking "what if" scenarios) can provide a significant boost to the productivity in food manufacturing, as in other manufacturing sectors. The software we developed enables this simulation technology and has contributed to enhanced understanding of food processes and their safety. The general framework for food process modeling developed here makes it possible to look at apparently diverse food processes in a unified manner, allowing far greater insight into the commonality between the processes than in previously developed empirical models that were ad hoc from one food process to another. Such insight can often help speed up the design of safe and quality food products, for example when combining modes of heating. By developing this general framework in a manner that can be implemented in a commercial software, the framework is useful to the larger community of food process researchers and educators as they can implement the framework on their own for understanding safety and quality issues. As quantitative safety and risk prediction advances, information we have developed will be an enabler in providing vital ''what if'' abilities for industry, extension, and academia in food safety, helping to design control measures in unintended contamination as well as sabotage in production, processing, distribution, and storage. The software developed is now being tried out in industry and academia, and should become a major weapon in the arsenal for food safety.
impact statement issue
- Predictive ability of such things as microbial growth and inactivation -- and therefore shelf life -- is at the heart of control measures for enhancing food safety.
impact statement response
- A powerful, state-of-the-art interactive software has been developed that integrates engineering, microbiology, and chemical kinetics of carcinogens in a very comprehensive way and provides customized answers concerning food safety for many production-to-consumption situations. The software integrates fundamental-based simulation of food processes with the prediction models available for microbiological growth/inactivation or generation/destruction of chemical mutagen to provide this safety information. Ranges of possibilities in the software currently include the following: 1. Several processes, such as frying, sterilization, storage, transportation, drying; 2. Many different conditions in each one of the processes; 3. Eight pathogenic bacteria; 4. Temperature-dependent death parameters for first order; 5. Temperature dependent growth parameters for the first order and Gompertz; and 6. Parameters against food, not pH or water activity, allowing a choice of almost 7,200 foods of the entire USDA National Nutrient database.
impact statement summary
- If we can predict the likelihood of an unsafe condition for food during processing or distribution, we can look for ways to prevent it from happening. Such prediction, however, is difficult due to tremendous variation in food types and how they are cooked, transported and stored. This project combined the advances in computer simulation to develop a tool for food science extension workers, educators, and researchers that will allow easy and accurate prediction of unsafe food situations.
- Both Basic Research and Applied Research
- Datta, Ashim K Cornell Faculty Member