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We can help your business improve the quality of food and drinks. Want to learn how?

Is your food product a time bomb? Join us to acquire more knowledge on the factors which influence shelf life and gain more insight with regards to a product’s expiration date, its shelf life testing and more. Learn how to maximise profits in this exclusive workshop for food professionals, manufactures and aspiring product owners

5 May 2017, 10:17am
How would you feel if you would be able to extend the shelf life of your product by 50%? What would this mean financially for your company?
How would you feel if you would be able to extend the shelf life of your product by 50%? What would this mean financially for your company?
Dr. Marisa Cassar (Director BioDNA) and Jeanette Cameron MSc. (Director Elty Food), will give food manufacturers the necessary information to improve the shelf life of their products.  They will teach about what defines expiration, product quality and improvement as well what is needed to control this in food and drinks. This workshop is highly recommended and a must for professional food manufacturers who are HACCP certified or would like to be certified.

We interviewed Jeanette Cameron, the inspiring food technologist who is helping some of Malta’s biggest food manufacturers create successful businesses, and Dr. Marisa Cassar, Director of BioDNA, to understand how this 2 hour event is a game-changer for Maltese food professionals, manufacturers and aspiring product owners.

Jeanette, can you tell us what are some of the rookie mistakes food and drink manufacturers are making?

What I have seen is that manufacturers know a lot about their products, it is often their baby. Especially manufacturers that also developed their own products. With this attachment, they tend to stick with a very traditional way of working and producing and limit themselves in the opportunities for improvement. While it is actually very important to move with the changing consumer behaviour and demand.

So basically this is costing manufacturers resources and money?

Yes, because consumers get more and more educated and they demand a certain quality. Consumers want a trustworthy shelf life, meaning that when they buy your product over and over again, they want to taste and experience the same product regardless how long ago it has been produced. Once a consumer has experienced an off taste or bad experience they usually don’t buy again.

I bet there will be more of that at your workshop. You were saying the last time we met, that this knowledge could help manufacturers get an edge over their competitors?

That is for sure, and not only on the quality side, but as well on the financial side. Waste is a huge problem with products that are not stable during shelf life. And imagine that you could sell these products instead of throwing them away. Or produce higher amounts without having to worry about your stock. This would be a great cost reduction.

Juice companies, bakeries, cafes and microbreweries are on the rise in Malta. Could this workshop be beneficial for them?

This workshop is aimed especially at them. By collaborating with BioDNA we can create a field of knowledge that is unique and very valuable for these entrepreneurs.

Every food has its own properties and particular care. Together Elty Food and BioDNA will make sure you can map your food product and we will show you what it takes to establish a trustworthy shelf life.

Anyone who is serious about manufacturing food and drinks, will take away valuable knowledge from this event.

Sounds like anyone who is serious about manufacturing a food or drink product will be missing out if they don’t attend.

Every product needs its own specific way of testing and optimizing. If you are not able to attend the workshop you can always contact us directly. One thing I can give away is that preservatives are not always the solution!

Dr Marisa Cassar is the Director of BioDNA, an ISO17025 accredited microbiology testing lab, who will be partnering up with food technologist Jeanette Cameron to host this special workshop.

Dr. Marisa Cassar, can you explain what are the dangers of contamination? What is necessary to avoid contamination?

Contamination can come in different forms, such as dust from the environment or also people can also be a source of contamination. Contamination can be in the form of physical contamination such as hairs or plastic fragments but mostly food contamination is due to bacteria, viruses and fungi. Most of the time contamination is invisible to the naked eye. Bacteria are very small and usually it is impossible to detect contamination by just looking at the food. If someone presents us with a piece of chicken and tells me one is contaminated with Salmonella and the other is not, I will not manage to detect which is which by just looking at them. Thus contamination most of the time goes undetected during the processing and is only detected either if spoilage appears before the expected expiry date or else a consumer develops food poisoning. The dangers of contamination depend on the type of contamination or the type of food in question. The consequences of contamination can be far more serious in ready to eat food then in food that is to be cooked.

Microbial contamination can come from a number of sources such as raw material of poor quality or inadequate hand washing. Thus to avoid contamination it is very important that one understand the food process and identifies all possible sources form where contamination can occur.

Dr Cassar, is it in fact possible to extend shelf life and by what means?

Most of the time what we see is that when manufacturers develop a product, they check what the competition has set as shelf life and they use that data as an estimated shelf life for their product. Other times the shelf life is determined based only on sensory perception i.e. after a month the product looks and tastes the same. The product may look and taste the same but may not be microbiologically safe after a month. The methods mentioned are not the ideal procedures to establish a product’s shelf life. One cannot depend on only one of these procedures. We offer examples of the methods one can use in order to come to a conclusion, but these methods are not scientifically reliable.  Sensory perception data together with microbiological data and an in depth analysis at the product development stage could help in extension of the shelf life of the product.

How can you achieve a quality product that has an extended shelf life?

Every product has to have quality built into it. Raw material used, manufacturing environment, processing equipment, packaging together with all the factors that come into play in the product development and manufacturing have an important role in achieving a quality product. Therefore it is of utmost importance that professionals with experience can evaluate and map this process in order to optimise.

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