Research center for non-routine food Studies opens in Piracicaba
Mérieux NutriSciences Brazil inaugurated its Food Science Center (FSC) last December. The new laboratory in Piracicaba, (SP) is sited at the Unit of Studies Division, in addition to the Food Business Unit installations already sited in Sao Paulo. It will offer, however, non-routine studies. This new Brazilian unit makes part of the Food Science Center in South America, which also operates in Chile and Colombia.
The portfolio of services comprises the Challenge Test, the Thermal Process Validation and Shelf-Life Study. In addition to these, there are the Cooking Instructions and Food Defects Tests. Those services will be applied for both animal and human food companies.
In addition to the new Studies Center, the company counts on 14 laboratories around the country offering analytical services for the following sectors: environmental, agrochemical, pharmaceutical, sanitizing and cosmetics.
Creation of the Food Science Center
“The creation of the Studies Center attends the growing demand from companies in the food sector. And, with the creation of the Food Science Center, Mérieux expands its research capacity. Herewith, we also provide innovation and problems solving,” as explained by the head of FSC in Brazil, Nathalia Baldo.
“The Food Science Center provides the customers with solutions for non-routine services, as far as food production is concerned, reinforcing our mission to help our clients protect the consumers’ health. Thus, FSC aggregates technical services to our Portfolio in Brazil bringing more options for the customers who have increasingly been looking for studies beyond routine” she said.
Nathalia has an MBA in Production and Quality Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas-FGV, added to 13 years work experience in multinational Food and Pet Food companies. She has also expertise in Quality (Process, Control and Warranty), Quality Assurance of Suppliers (Supplier Audits), Purchasing and Import Processes.
Added to the entire technical expertise of Nathalia and her team, the FSC Brazil is part of the Global network of Food Science Centers. Mérieux NutriSciences counts on such laboratories for the non-routine studies in countries such as Spain, the United States, China, South Africa, Portugal, France and Mexico. In South America there are FSCs also in Chile, Colombia, and now in Brazil.
Services offered at the Food Science Center Brazil
Among the studies cited, the ones being offered primarily are the Shelf Life and the Cooking Instructions tests.
The “Shelf-Life Study” determines the food shelf life. Another function, however, is to confirm the expiration date set on the package by the manufacturer. This study comprises, in most cases, a combination of analyzes. Therefore, they are microbiological, physical-chemical, and sensory, it can be performed in real time (product shelf life) or under accelerated conditions (shorter storage time and higher temperatures).
The benefits for the food industry are many. That is because, added to helping to determine the shelf life of food, this service is necessary for actions like: elaborate new product formulations, check a new production or storage method, and make changes in distribution conditions.
The methods of analysis include organoleptic parameters (i.e., appearance, color, odor, taste, and textures) the consumer’s acceptance and physical-chemical parameters, that is, pH, water activity, humidity, and acidity. Additionally, the microbiological parameters are methods of analysis: microbial growth, mold and yeast count, detection of Salmonella ssp, among others.
Cooking Instruction Study
The cooking instruction study consists of preparing the food in the laboratory following the manufacturer’s instructions. It also considers the utensils the consumer uses when preparing food at home.
Herewith, it is possible to verify if in fact this temperature has kept the sensory characteristics of the food as expected, which is therefore essential to guarantee the quality and the consumer’s pleasure at the time of its consumption.
It is also important to note that the cooking or use instructions are labeling requirements for products that need special preparation before their consumption.
The study also enables assessments from a microbiological point of view, verifying whether cooking, frying, or baking has reduced some microorganism. In addition, it can also contribute when a company does not yet know what the best preparation recommendations would be (in this case, it generates the instruction).
In both cases, for assessment or instruction preparation, a concise report on the findings, containing possible technical recommendations is presented at the end of the study.
New Studies will be available in 2021
Starting this year, the Challenge Test study will also be available. It verifies whether the product is susceptible or not to the development of any microorganism, and thus it helps to guarantee food quality and safety.
This study helps companies to develop a new product or change the formulation of an existing one, to assess the risks of pathogens or product deteriorations and to limit costs and time of experimental studies with better targeted analyzes. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that it also makes it possible to determine ideal microbiological safety intervals and critical points to integrate into the production process.
The benefits are also several. Amongst them, the evidence to constrain the deteriorating microorganism by intrinsic factors of the product; classification of the products in accordance to the risk of pathogens growth; the risk assessment and determination of critical points within the Food Safety approach, added to the establishment of criteria for acceptable levels of pathogen indicators microorganisms.
Thermal Process Validation Study
In parallel to the Challenge test, the Thermal Process Validation study will also be provided. In this test, a validated microorganism as a substitute for a pathogen and with a similar profile (surrogate) is inoculated into the food sample.
It is then thermally treated during the determined time of the production process to identify the lowest temperatures of the equipment, which would be the most unfavorable to reduce and eliminate microorganisms. Examples of thermal processes: oven, extrusion, pasteurization, sterilization, roasting, among others.
Among its benefits it is possible to validate the microbial reduction (log cycle), establish optimal process times and temperatures and identify the critical process points.
Lastly, there will also be the Defects Study. It allows identifying the reason for the presence of foreign particles, the growth of unwanted microorganisms or sensory changes, among other types of possible defects.
They can come up during the food processing and thus cause inconvenience to both the consumers and the company’s brand.
Although still unavailable in Brazil, all these studies can be carried out by the Group’s Food Science Center chain present in other countries.
Commitment to Quality
The Food Science Center guarantees reliable and consistent results. They are based on global methods and, therefore, provide equal interpretation of results among all the laboratories of the Mérieux Group.
The customers can also count on the trust and confidence of the process, due to the company’s strong reputation in the entire global food industry.
The person in charge of Food Science Center in Brazil has attended trainings in Spain and the USA. The procedure is standard in Mérieux NutriSciences Group whenever a new Food Science Center is established.
The purpose is to improve knowledge taking advantage of the expertise acquired from the most experienced laboratories of the Group. All of this, of course, to establish the state-of –the art quality in the processes and provide security both for companies and for the end customers of food products.
For more information about Food Science Center, contact us!
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