Recently, there has been growing attention on food-born allergies or poisoning from pathogenic bacteria, toxins, preservatives or other chemicals, which comprise issues of great importance for consumer safety. Within this context, various rapid methods have been developed using indicators or sensors, which can detect and demonstrate (e.g. via change of colour) the presence of viruses, fungi, bacteria, small molecules, mycotoxins, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and allergens. These indicators can even be inserted/attached in food packages, so that they are visible to producers, retailers and/or consumers and provide instant indication about the products quality.
There are two ways to incorporate indicators on consumer packages: Either by attaching it on the surface of the package (more expensive) or by inserting it inside the package (less expensive solution). In any case, the indicator must not limit the visibility of any consumer advisory messages existing on the packaging and must not cause any effect or interference on other in-store information management systems used by the retailer (e.g. bar code readers, RF (radio frequency) tags, etc.).
Considering the above, the new method sought by the Greek dairy company should provide accurate and comprehensible indication about the quality of the final product. Similar existing methods are applied to other food products but, currently, not cheese. The solution required should be specifically developed for application to dairy products, and preferably involve the use of indicators incorporated into individual cheese packages as small inserts. Additionally, the indicators should preferably be directly and firmly attached on the packaged product prior to its storage and delivery to selling points, allowing the consumer to detect by simple observation the potential existence of enzymes or toxins coming from pathogenic microorganisms, as well as other molecules and substances without the packaging being opened. In the same way, detection can be performed by producers, retailers or technical staff at all stages: after the final packaging, during storage, upon delivery and on final selling points.
The requested indicators should be specifically designed for the detection of the following microorganisms: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella (S. thyphimurium, S. enteritidis, S. typhi, S. parathyphi, S. sendai).
The technologies sought should be accurate, reliable and cost-effective. Moreover, they should comply with food safety standards and regulations. The indicators incorporated into the packages should be inexpensive, as well as stable, non-toxic and inert.
Priority will be given to solutions already developed and tested in the dairy industry, within packaged cheese products. Alternatively, i.e. if the above described technology is not fully developed and/or tested, the company has sufficient R&D capabilities, so as to engage in collaboration for further testing and implementation of the technology in packaged cheese and dairy products.
The company is seeking partners able to provide advanced and effective technologies, in order to establish commercial agreements with technical assistance or technical co-operation agreements.
Technical Specifications / Specific technical requirements:
- The technologies sought should be accurate, reliable and cost-effective.
- The indicators should be either attached adhesive labels or incorporated into the packages. The indicators incorporated into the packages should be stable, non-toxic and inert.
- Compliance with food safety standards and regulations is required.
- The requested indicators should be specifically designed for the detection of the following microorganisms: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella (S. thyphimurium, S. enteritidis, S. typhi, S. parathyphi, S. sendai).