Polytechnic Institute
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QTradiSaus - Integral assessment of risk-based intervention strategies to improve the microbial safety of Portuguese traditional sausages

Project Type
Nacional / Público
Financial Program
PTDC - Projectos em todos os domínios científicos
Global Funding Value
183284.00 €
IPB Funding Value
145584.00 €
Research Project
Principal Investigator
Joaquina Teresa Gaudêncio Dias
This project proposes to undertake for first time an integral assessment of risk-based intervention strategies leading to the improvement of the microbial safety of selected products. The study will focus on two prevalent pathogens, S. aureus, L. monocytogenes in two dry-fermented sausages, Linguiça and Salpicao, which pose higher risk to the consumers as they may be eaten without cooking. This research is ‘integral’ because intervention strategies will be underpinned by four important pillars of the food safety paradigm, namely, (i) food chain data, (ii) fate studies and predictive microbiology, (iii) risk management measures and (iv) process optimisation. On the first year, data on the entire processing chain will become available by microbiological, physicochemical and manufacture surveys, from a number of regional producers. Analysis will elucidate contamination sources, distribution of pathogens, post-process contamination and associations between the sausage intrinsic properties and their microbial numbers. On the second year, fate studies of L. monocytogenes and S. aureus inoculated in a dry-fermented sausage prototype manufactured under laboratory-scale conditions will be conducted to assess the combined effects of factors known to reduce pathogen’s viability (starter cultures, salt concentration and maturation temperature). Predictive models, at present non-existent for Portuguese sausages, will be dynamically developed from the fate studies data using mechanistic models; and optimisation will be then conducted to assess intervention strategies for improved microbial safety, without altering the organoleptic attributes. Furthermore, the data generated from these two large studies (food chain surveys and survival modelling) will be used in modelling the variability in microbial counts between batches of production which is of utmost importance when assessing risk management measures: microbiological criteria and statistical process control. The performance of microbiological criteria, as set by EC nº 1441/2007, will be tested and control charts will also be developed as an internal tool for industries to detect changes in microbial levels.The implementation of the proposed intervention strategies and control measures by regional industries, and the resulting safer and validated production processes as well as the current Portuguese policies of ‘protected denomination of origin’ will underpin the acceptability and expansion of these traditional products in EU markets, hence fostering agro-industry and regional development in Northern Portugal. Fig 1 succinctly shows the foremost reasons that substantiate the conduction of the proposed scientific research.

Project Team

Project Partners

  • IPVC - Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo
  • UTAD - Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro