Food integrity project: Intelligent quality assurance

  • Using biomarkers to determine the root cause of an inconsistent and detrimental quality issue which caused discolouration of a meat product.
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Food integrity project: Intelligent quality assurance

Ensuring consistency of meat products

Food producers strive for consistency in their food production, and issues within the food supply chain must therefore be quickly rectified. We used our expertise to identify the root cause of inconsistent and detrimental quality issues which caused discolouration of a meat product. The problems with the product were:


  • The packaged meat product was developing discolouration during the production process which caused a quality issue related to its appearance.

  • The issue was inconsistent with only a small number of the samples showing discolouration, and no pattern emerged as to which would demonstrate the issue.

  • The manufacturer was unable to identify the root cause of the problem.

  • Using the principle of measuring ‘normality’, we profiled non-discoloured samples and compared them to those which were showing signs of the discolouration issue. There was a significant difference between the normal and the discoloured steaks.

    We were able to combine our vast expertise with original thinking and experimentation in the lab to test novel strategies. We introduced new methodologies and interpreted analytical findings to understand and solve the challenge.

    With our chemical knowledge of the biomarkers which we investigated, we could identify the root cause of the differences between the products, and ultimately allow the food group to rectify the problem.

    Original Thinking...Applied' - How Fera is Aiding Industry

    Download the Increased Supply Chain Complexity - Meat Discolouration ebook. Fera were recently challenged by ABP Food Group, UK to identify the root cause of inconsistent and detrimental quality issues that internal investigations had failed to solve:

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    Including:

    Their packaged meat product was developing discolouration during production producing a quality issue relating to appearance.

    Only a small number of samples were showing these signs of discolouration and there was no pattern of occurrence between production runs.

    The manufacturer’s internal investigations were not able to identify the root cause.



    Learn more about the Thomson Suite




    The Thomson Suite is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the UK. It is a bespoke laboratory running to GLP quality standards that houses 30 state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instruments. The equipment within the facility consists of very sensitive and selective instruments such as LC-MS/MS, IC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS which are used for the determination of compounds including pesticides, veterinary medicines, natural toxins, processing contaminants, environmental contaminants and packaging migrants, from a wide range of sample types including food, feed, beverages, packaging materials and environmental matrices such as water and soil.

    Dr. James Donarski - Head of Food Authenticity

    James is the head of food authenticity at Fera Science Ltd. He has a background in analytical chemistry, authenticity determination, non-targeted analysis and small molecule structure elucidation.

    James's Profile


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