SBIR Phase I: Ensuring Food Safety - A Predictive Modeling Tool for Process Design and Validation

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0339510
Agency Tracking Number: 0339510
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
21 West Mountain, Fayetteville, AR, 72701
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rong Murphy
 (479) 571-2592
Business Contact
 Mark Wagstaff
Phone: (479) 571-2592
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)Phase I project project proposes to determine the feasibility of a software-modeling tool for the food industry to ensure safety of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. Contamination of RTE foods has caused severe illnesses and major product recalls in recent years. Current methods used by equipment manufacturers and food producers to set parameters for thermal processing rely heavily on testing, which is expensive, time-consuming, and often results in conservative processes that sacrifice product quality and yield. The objective of this project is to demonstrate that an innovative software tool, combining mathematical models of heat and mass transfer to and from the product with pathogen kinetics, can be used to design food production processes and validate their effectiveness in pathogen reduction. The models will be based on extensive studies that have established important parameters affecting product properties and temperatures and thus the rate of pathogen destruction. The proposed research and commercialization of the software tool will provide significant societal benefit by helping to reduce food-borne illness and product recalls among ready-to-eat foods. Also, it is well recognized in the industry that there is enormous potential to improve economics of food production through design of optimized processes that improve yield while maintaining safety. The proposed software tool promises to help producers realize this goal. Finally, there will be significant benefit in terms of the interaction between industry and Government and compliance with new regulations intended to improve food safety. The research will contribute valuable knowledge of thermal and biokinetic processes involved in RTE food production and advance the state of the art in modeling of thermal and biokinetic processes.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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