Chlorophyll markers to highlight contaminated meat - research

Monday 2 August 2010

A food safety research project in the UK is to investigate ways of identifying E. coli and salmonella-contaminated meat, poultry and eggs by using fluorescent imaging to spot chlorophyll markers administered through animal feed.

The £460,000 (€554,000) initiative, undertaken by scientists at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), aims to drastically cut incidences of meat contamination in abattoirs.

Fluorescent imaging

The scheme will focus on spotting when micro-organisms in waste material come into contact with the meat as it is being processed. This is a major potential source of contamination in abattoirs even though contamination can be in such small amounts to be almost indiscernible, said the team from the Welsh university.

The three year research project will develop natural chlorophyll-based markers which can be added to animal feed. Carcasses will then be screened in the abattoir using fluorescent imaging which will show up the markers, thus identifying contamination of the meat by animal waste.

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