Revision as of 11:22, 7 September 2012 by Elbrich (Talk | contribs)

Food safety

For our project, we needed to define what spoiled meat actually is. We found that there was no clear definition of rotten meat, altough we contacted the Voedsel en Waren Authoriteit (VWA), or in English: the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. We were told by the VWA that rotten meat is defined by color changes or judge by smell. However, these are rather arbitrary judgments. We did some research on food safety and the European regulations on this subject and especially around our subject, minced meat.

In the end, we decided that we would define spoiled meat using the guidelines of the European Union (2006, Source (in Dutch)). This is a judgment by the Total Aerobic Microbial Count (TAMC) test and with this test, one can estimate the amount of Colony Forming Units (CFU) per gram meat. Since iGEM is based on microbiology this test would prefect judgment for the rotting of meat.

We measured the Total Aerobic Microbial Count of minced meat, left at room temperature for different times. You can check the results here. From the test we concluded that the minced meat used in our project is spoiled after 7 hours on room temperature.

Everyone knows that consumption of rotten meat can cause severe diseases. Microorganisms play a huge role on the rotting process of meat and the diseases resulting from the consumption of rotten meat. “Foodborne illness caused by microorganisms is a large and growing public health problem. Most countries, using systems for reporting cases of foodborne illness, have documented significant increases over the past few decades in the incidence of diseases caused by microorganisms in food, including pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli, and parasites such as cryptosporidium, cryptospora, trematodes.” (source: World Health Organization)

Our Food Warden will help people with identifying rotten meat and there by prevent consumption of this meat. Hereby we hope do reduce the number of people getting sick as a result of the consumption of rotten meat.