This project will apply a novel detection method, hyperspectral imaging, to rapidly identify food-borne bacterial disease in fish products, and thus reduce public health risk.
This project will apply a novel detection method, hyperspectral imaging (HSI), for the rapid identification of a food-borne bacterial disease in fish products. Farmed seafood, principally salmon and trout, is the largest UK food export. These products are provided as raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) formats with revenue from Salmon alone worth £2bn to the Scottish economy. All products must be tested and comply with microbial food safety standards which are developed to control the incidence of food-borne infections, including listeriosis from the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The number of cases of listeriosis are low but the death rate is high, making it a significant public health risk, especially in vulnerable groups.
Current food safety testing methods are destructive, costly, time consuming and labour intensive. Therefore, this project will apply novel detection and identification methods to deliver cost effective decision making at the fish processing stage, thus reducing the risk of human ill-health from microbial contamination. The HSI technology has been successfully deployed in other food sectors for the detection of foreign objects but not yet in the area of microbiological safety. This project will explore a novel application of HSI to determine the presence, concentration and changes in growth patterns of L. monocytogenes in raw and cold smoked salmon fillets, performed under experimental conditions. As well as the academic leads, other project partners include a supplier of fish products, a retailer and a technology provider who will collaborate to produce a practical demonstration of listeria detection, and a roadmap to commercial deployment.