Foods2013, 2(4), 572-584; doi:10.3390/foods2040572 - published online 4 December 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Research suggests that consumers often mishandle food in the home based on survey and observation studies. There is a need for a standardized tool for researchers to objectively evaluate the prevalence and identify the nature of food safety risks in the domestic environment. An audit tool was developed to measure compliance with recommended sanitation, refrigeration and food storage conditions in the domestic kitchen. The tool was piloted by four researchers who independently completed the inspection in 22 homes. Audit tool questions were evaluated for reliability using the κ statistic. Questions that were not sufficiently reliable (κ < 0.5) or did not provide direct evidence of risk were revised or eliminated from the final tool. Piloting the audit tool found good reliability among 18 questions, 6 questions were revised and 28 eliminated, resulting in a final 24 question tool. The audit tool was able to identify potential food safety risks, including evidence of pest infestation (27%), incorrect refrigeration temperature (73%), and lack of hot water (>43 °C, 32%). The audit tool developed here provides an objective measure for researchers to observe and record the most prevalent food safety risks in consumer’s kitchens and potentially compare risks among consumers of different demographics.
Foods2013, 2(4), 554-571; doi:10.3390/foods2040554 - published online 29 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Green teas in leaf form are brewed multiple times, a common selling point. However, the flavor changes, both sensory and volatile compounds, of green teas that have been brewed multiple times are unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine how the aroma and flavor of green teas change as they are brewed multiple times, to determine if a relationship exists between green tea flavors and green tea volatile compounds, and to suggest the number of times that green tea leaves can be brewed. The first and second brews of the green tea samples provided similar flavor intensities. The third and fourth brews provided milder flavors and lower bitterness and astringency when measured using descriptive sensory analysis. In the brewed liquor of green tea mostly linalool, nonanal, geraniol, jasmone, and β-ionone volatile compounds were present at low levels (using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry). The geraniol, linalool, and linalool oxide compounds in green tea may contribute to the floral/perfumy flavor. Green teas in leaf form may be brewed up to four times: the first two brews providing stronger flavor, bitterness, and astringency whereas the third and fourth brews will provide milder flavor, bitterness, and astringency.
Foods2013, 2(4), 544-553; doi:10.3390/foods2040544 - published online 27 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the EU, food is considered safe with regard to Listeria monocytogenes if its numbers do not exceed 100 CFU/g throughout the shelf-life of the food. Therefore, it is important to determine if a food supports growth of L. monocytogenes. Challenge studies to determine the ability of a food to support growth of L. monocytogenes are essential as predictive modelling often overestimates the growth ability of L. monocytogenes. The aim of this study was to determine if growth of L. monocytogenes was supported during the production and distribution of mushrooms. A three-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes was inoculated onto three independent batches of whole mushrooms, sliced mushrooms, mushroom casing and mushroom substrate at a concentration of about 100–1000 CFU/g. The batches were incubated at potential abuse temperatures, as a worst case scenario, and at intervals during storage L. monocytogenes numbers, % moisture and pH were determined. The results showed that the sliced and whole mushrooms had the ability to support growth, while mushroom casing allowed survival but did not support growth. Mushroom substrate showed a rich background microflora that grew on Listeria selective media and this hindered enumeration of L. monocytogenes. In the case of this study, Combase predictions were not always accurate, indicating that challenge studies may be a necessary part of growth determination of L.monocytogenes.
Foods2013, 2(4), 534-543; doi:10.3390/foods2040534 - published online 27 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) are commonly used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of volatile compounds in various dairy products, but conditions have to be adjusted to maximize release while not generating new compounds that are absent in the original sample. Queso Fresco, a fresh non-melting cheese, may be heated at 60 °C for 30 min; in contrast, compounds are produced in milk when exposed to light and elevated temperatures, so milk samples are heated as little as possible. Products such as dehydrated whey protein are more stable and can be exposed to longer periods (60 min) of warming at lower temperature (40 °C) without decomposition, allowing for capture and analysis of many minor components. The techniques for determining the volatiles in dairy products by SPME and GC-MS have to be optimized to produce reliable results with minimal modifications and analysis times.
Foods2013, 2(4), 521-533; doi:10.3390/foods2040521 - published online 27 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In complex emulsions, viscosity or viscosity-associated sensory attributes such as creaminess are important for quality assessment and product differentiation. Two sets of emulsions with fat or locust bean gum content being varied at seven levels were developed; the two emulsions at each level had similar apparent viscosity. Additionally, sugar concentration was kept constant either with respect to total emulsion, or with respect to the aqueous phase. Series of two-alternative forced choice tests were performed with one constant stimulus, and just noticeable differences were calculated using probability regression. The results show that, when viscosity was not compensated, it was easy for the subjects to (a) distinguish emulsions with different fat content when the fat content was addressed in the question, and to (b) distinguish emulsions with different fat or locust bean gum content when creaminess was addressed. For the latter descriptor, it is of minor importance whether viscosity is altered by fat content or a thickener. Weber fractions that were calculated for viscosity were approximately 0.20. The quantitative effects of viscosity on sweetness, however, depend on how product rheology was modified.
Foods2013, 2(4), 507-520; doi:10.3390/foods2040507 - published online 18 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: O2 sensors were used to non-destructively monitor O2 levels in commercially packed pre-cooked, convenience modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) foods. A substantial level of O2 (>15%) was present in packs resulting in a shorter than expected shelf-life, where the primary spoilage mechanism was found to be mould. Various combinations of vacuum (0–0.6 MPa) and gas flush (0.02–0.03 MPa) (30% CO2/70% N2) settings were assessed as treatments that result in the desired shelf-life (28 days). This was achieved using the combined treatment of vacuum 0.35 MPa and gas flush 0.02 MPa which resulted in a reduction of 6%–9% O2 in all three samples (battered sausages (BS), bacon slices (BA), and meat and potato pies (PP)). Reduced O2 levels reflect the microbial quality of products, which has been successfully reduced. Duplicate samples of all product packs were produced using ethanol emitters (EE) to see if shelf-life could be further extended. Results showed a further improvement in shelf-life to 35 days. Sensory analysis showed that ethanol flavour and aroma was not perceived by panellists in two of the three products assessed. This study demonstrates how smart packaging technologies, both intelligent and active, can be used to assist in the modification of conventional packaging systems in order to enhance product quality and safety and through the extension of product shelf-life.