Food safety and quality
Our food should be safe to eat and of high quality. Our scientists work to secure safe food and sustainable packaging such that the shelf-life of the food is optimal, waste is reduced, and distribution is efficient.
- Practical solutions to packaging challenges.
- Advice and training to ensure the production of safe food with optimal shelf-life. We offer, for example, courses in HACCP.
- Realistic production of food infected with dangerous bacteria, with the possibility of following raw materials through the complete production process, and through packaging and storage.
- Methods and tools to identify risk factors and substances that compromise food quality.
We strive for these goals in Norwegian and international research projects, industrially commissioned research, and strategic research programmes. We combine basic, applied and multidisciplinary research. This provides research-based expertise to Norwegian food producers and contributes to innovation and the production of high-quality, safe food.
Harmful and beneficial bacteria under the microscope
The cleanliness of equipment that comes into contact with raw materials is important. Even small cracks can provide favourable growing conditions for bacteria. We find solutions to remove dangerous and undesired bacteria from production environments and food. Our scientists have studied, for example, how modifications to recipes and process stages can reduce the risk of dangerous E. coli bacteria in smoked sausage. It turned out that mild heat treatment (43 °C) for 48 hours gives sausages that are safe, while the changes in flavour and texture are minimal.
Beneficial bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria, are important in many types of food production. We are studying how they can be used as starter cultures, basic cultures, probiotics and production organisms. Further, we are attempting to understand in more detail how lactic acid bacteria can be used to convert residual raw materials to valuable products and useful substances.
Insight into intestinal flora
There is a complex interplay between the bacteria in food and the surroundings. We analyse bacterial colonies in food, humans, farm animals, fish and production environments to study the dynamics of the interplay between bacteria.
Nofima has developed a model of the large intestine, and this allows us to gain knowledge about, among other matters, how the ingredients in food influence the intestinal bacterial flora. Our scientists have studied, for example, how bacteria that are considered to play an important role in good intestinal health are stimulated by barley and broccoli.
Our research is to ensure sustainable food packaging and packaging solutions. This means that the solutions must be not only environmentally sensitive, but also able to preserve the quality of the food, and contribute to increased shelf-life and lower food waste.
We base our work on the interplay between the product, packaging material, packaging method and external factors to which the product is exposed. We study, among other issues, the suitability of new bio-based packaging materials and the effect of active and intelligent packaging. Active packaging contributes actively to improving food quality and/or extending its shelf-life. Intelligent packaging provides feedback and information about the packaged food.
One new packaging method increases the shelf-life of fresh salmon, and other foods. The method is based on a CO₂-emitter, in the form of a pad at the bottom of the package. This leads to a longer shelf-life since the CO₂ is produced after the packaging has been sealed.