The primary focus of pasteurisation and sterilisation processes is to kill off a certain number of micro-organisms. Subsequently, predictive modelling can be used to calculate the expected reduction. The physical and chemical properties of a product – such as pH and Aw values – are considered when carrying out these calculations. Shelf life tests or challenge tests can be implemented to validate the calculations carried out, ultimately resulting in a microbiologically safe product with the desired shelf life.
Predictive modelling for pathogens is perfect for validating heating processes. Although this type of predictive modelling is commonly known and applied, fewer people are aware that various specific strands of spoilage-causing micro-organisms – such as yeasts, fungi and Pseudomonas – can also be pathogenic. These micro-organisms do not cause disease immediately and often involve a long incubation period, which is why they are referred to as opportunely pathogenic. With the help of our mathematical models, we can both calculate the effectiveness of heating processes against pathogens and opportune pathogens. We then continue to validate the calculations by performing challenge tests with different strands of pathogens or surrogates for these pathogens.
Reliable predictive modelling can be carried out only if a thorough inventory of the product recipe, product properties, the process, the packaging, the intended use and specific product risks has been drawn up. If necessary, we advise clients in relation to recipes and process conditions and we support test productions and scale-up tests. We refer to this as an integrated approach, which provides the logical building blocks for proper R&D.
Take a look at our news reports, linked to predictive modelling, for a few examples of our expertise in this field.