Food safety analysis is a fixed element of the development process of new products at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, allowing us to support companies in developing new and safe products.
Safety is such a vital issue with food products that it must be into account at the early stages of development. Producers in the EU are responsible for the safety of their products. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research supports these companies by performing safety analyses of possible risks and threats at the development stage of products and processes. This accelerates innovation and avoids frustration at the end of the development process.
Microbiological and toxicological safety
We help our clients underpin the safety of their products and gain insight into possible risk factors by determining and applying best practices. We analyse the microbial safety of new products and processes, using fast detection methods to analyse the possible presence of pathogens in food products. We also map out any toxicological risks and offer advice on how to deal with them. Another focal point is potential allergic reactions to products among consumers.
Together with companies, we are involved in the development of novel foods. Within the EU domain, these are foods or ingredients which have not been consumed to a significant degree before May 1997. Depending on their nature, processing and composition, such products need to be notified or registered as novel foods before being marketed. We help companies to clarify regulatory requirements, to assess the safety of these products and to prepare dossiers for review by authorities or clients. Examples that are currently under development are vegetal, animal or microbial in origin. We perform research into the microbial and toxicological safety of products, for instance, checking whether they contain traces of pesticides, heavy metals or antinutritional factors. We also look at the composition of the food or ingredient and its nutritional impact. In case protein is present, an evaluation of allergenic potential is carried out.
Mildly preserved products
We also study the safety of products that have an extended shelf life or improved taste due to new mild preservation techniques. These include fruit juices preserved by means of pulsed electric field-processing, for example. In developing these technologies, we study the impact on microbial, nutritional and toxicological safety at an early stage. A similar approach is used for genetically modified products, and for the application of nanotechnology in food.