Project Overview

Call FP7-KBBE-2010-5
Topic of the work programme FP7 KBBE-2010.2.4-02  - Identification of the effect of processing on food contaminants
Description of the topic (extracted from the work programme) The research will generate new knowledge on the dynamics of priority chemical hazards; structural changes and interactions with other molecules or substrates during food processing and storage. It includes process-induced contaminants from inoffensive precursors, mitigation and removal strategies, tracing through the food processing, final fate and level in the endproduct, including the potential impact on quality attributes in the final product. It also includes chemical hazards or structural changes influenced by different processing techniques. This project will require industry involvement, including relevant demonstration activities.

Expected impact: The European added value lies in increasing the competitiveness of the European food industry by improved understanding of the effects of food processing on chemical hazards and improved processing monitoring techniques. Relevant demonstration activities will enhance the cooperation between scientific disciplines and stakeholders. This should help the EU food industry to increase its innovation potential, in particular regarding food safety and SMEs.
Project officer Vicky Lefevre (DG Research and Innovation)
Number of partners 14 organisations
Duration 3 years from May 2011 to April 2014
Project summary The PROMETHEUS project will help the European food industry to reduce consumer exposure to food processing contaminants without affecting food quality or microbiological safety.
PROMETHEUS builds on the previous EU projects HEATOX and ICARE. Its aims are:
  • To understand the reactions involving food components that form toxic contaminants.
  • To provide methods to monitor on-line, in real time, indicators of these reactions and produced contaminants.
  • To develop alternative processing technologies limiting contaminant formation while maintaining food safety and sensorial acceptance.
  • To demonstrate satisfactory upscaling of the new technologies to the industrial level.
Food models (infant formulas, biscuits, canned baby foods, and canned fish and vegetables) have been selected for their nutritional relevance to the consumer, especially infants and children. Processing contaminants (acrylamide, 3-monochloropropanediol esters, glycidol esters, furan, hydroxymethylfurfural and carboxymethyllysine) have been chosen for their toxicology and relevance to the food product and process.

PROMETHEUS will use a novel holistic analytical approach of continuous real-time on-line monitoring of process contaminant formation during food processing. Ambient mass spectrometry, fluorescence spectroscopy and image analysis will measure the relevant contaminants, their precursors and some quality indicators simultaneously. Nutritional and sensorial indicators will also be measured for each food products. The data will allow modelling of the reactions that form contaminants and affect food quality.

Innovative processing technologies will be used: vacuum baking, high hydrostatic pressure, ohmic heating, and ingredient microencapsulation.
The PROMETHEUS consortium has 8 research organisations and 6 industrial participants (including 4 SMEs, 1 large company and the European Confederation of Agro Food industries). The project outcomes will help to protect the consumers by providing them with high quality ready-to-eat food products. It will improve the competitiveness of the food industry by anticipating future regulations on neoformed contaminants, and help it to innovate by implementing new technologies in order to better control the safety and overall quality of their products.
Contact ACTIA
16, rue Claude Bernard
75231 Paris Cedex 05
Tel: (+33) 01 44 08 86 20
Fax: (+33) 01 44 08 86 21
Mail Contact: Christophe Cotillon

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 265558
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