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PROCURED: Optimization Of The Salting Process For The Production Of Healthier And Higher Quality Dry-Cured Meat Products With Reduced And More Standardized Salt Content (PROCURED)
Start date: Jan 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Salt is used across Europe in the production of a wide variety of dry-cured meat products, which are not only important because of their high economic value, but also due to historical, cultural, and gastronomical reasons. Among them, the different varieties of dry-cured ham produced in many European countries are the most notable and economically relevant examples.In spite of their overall nutritional and gastronomical properties, the high sodium content in dry-cured products has become a major concern in terms of public health. Recently, the enhancement of the consumer awareness of the health effects of a salt rich diet has increased the market demand for reduced sodium food products. However, the development of these segments has proved to be a major technological challenge for the sector, due to the irreproducibility of the salting process. The heterogeneity of the resulting product is also responsible for substantial economic losses due to the fact that part of the production does not meet the expected quality standards. Besides, it reduces significantly the yield in the production of sliced products.The main goal of this project is to develop a pre-competitive salting control platform to enable an accurate control of the salting stage in the production of dry-cured meat, which will ultimately result in a more homogeneous and standardized salt content in the final product, and will enable developing new product segments with reduced salt content. The proposed solution integrates different novel in-line meat inspection technologies, and uses a Neural Network to determine optimum salting parameters.The project consortium brings together a group of leading SMEP in the sector of services and machinery for the meat processing industry, with the objective to develop after the project a commercial solution demanded by customers. The consortium also includes Meat Processors, which will be involved in the validation of the technology, and leading Research groups.

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