Consortium investigates microbial contaminants in plant-based foods

A public-private consortium has been created to carry out a multi-year research project to investigate the potential food safety and quality issues posed by microbial contaminants in plant-based food products.    

The consortium will be led by NIZO food research, in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and HAS Green Academy, together with several food-related companies. The project is supported by financial contribution from the Topsector Agri & Food.  

The consortium will look at microbes that are common in more than 80 plant-based ingredients, their ability to survive processing, and the risk of growth and toxin production in foods containing such ingredients.  

The goal of the project is to help reduce food waste and ensure food safety, by filling knowledge gaps, generating better predictive models for assessing microbial risk and identifying critical control points and strategies for long-term structural solutions.  

“Safe food is critical for public health, but we also need to minimise product recalls to prevent downgrading or destruction of valuable foods. New developments in food production and the protein transition raise fresh and unknown challenges that can hamper these objectives. We are delighted to see the level of support and commitment of private and public organisations to tackling this issue together, which will have a positive impact on future innovations of plant-based foods worldwide” said Dr Robyn Eijlander, Project Manager and Microbiology expert at NIZO.