Bacterial growth in food is a major risk issue, with large consequences on the health, safety, environment and economy of food consumers and manufacturers. Minimally processed food is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, but it is susceptible to bacterial growth, including the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (LM). Various treatments exist, including thermal treatment, salt additives, etc., but not all are suitable to purge fresh food from bacteria, due to considerations of taste, texture, quality and health (such as reducing salt concentrations). High pressure processing (HPP) is a promising method as it can kill most bacteria with no adverse sensory side effects on the quality of many food product groups. However, it has a limited success, since some bacteria, including LM, manages to recover rapidly from high pressure treatment, increasing the risk of food contamination.

This transnational SafeFood industrial biotechnology project unites 8 groups from 6 countries across Europe, with the purpose to turn food safer, by killing the LM. The consortium will study which mechanisms allow LM to survive HPP, and neutralize these by using advance biotechnology methods. Together with the food industry, APAP and its owner and food producer NOEL, we will identify food additives that can prevent LM from surviving HPP, leaving the food itself purged.

SafeFood will provide safer and healthier food products for the public, improved economy and export, and reduce food waste.