PHYTOCHEMICALS TO REDUCE NITRITE IN MEAT PRODUCTS (PHYTOME)
PHYTOCHEMICALS TO REDUCE NITRITE IN MEAT PRODUCTS
Start date: Dec 1, 2012,
End date: Nov 30, 2015
Trend analyses indicate that the consumption of meat products in most EU countries is stagnating, with the exception of the market segment ‘light and healthy’. However, consumer perception is increasingly influenced by messages in the media that consumption of nitrite preserved meat products contributes to human cancer risk. Therefore, the aim of the PHYTOME project is to develop new meat processing technologies, resulting in innovative products that have no or strongly reduced nitrite levels and that have been shown to contribute to improved gut health. The new meat products will be enriched with carefully selected biologically active compounds, so called phytochemicals, present in various natural plant extracts. Specific phytochemicals possess antimicrobial activity that may allow replacement of nitrite without hampering microbiological safety. Phytochemicals are also known to protect the gut from the induction of genetic damage and adverse health effects. The PHYTOME project will deliver optimized food processing techniques to introduce phytochemicals into a range of meat products and that will guarantee microbiological safety and good sensory quality. These new technologies will be transferred to the other end-users to demonstrate their applicability in industrial settings. The new meat products will be evaluated in a human dietary intervention study to establish their positive effect on cancer risk markers in colonic tissues using the newest genomics techniques available. Elaborate consumer studies will show the response to the newly developed products. Both consumer acceptance and the willingness to buy this new type of products will be tested, eventually resulting in a tailored marketing strategy. The European and national SME associations have an excellent network to disseminate the results of the PHYTOME project across the entire EU meat processing sector, stimulating the exploitation of the identified growth market for ‘light and healthy’ meat products.
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