Food safety – Product protection – Consumer protection

Research for consumer safety

Consumer protection in the focus of our research

Secure consumer protection requires fast and accurate control systems

Consumer protection has the highest priority in the food industry and also in the consumer goods’ industry but faces ever growing technical, organizational, and hence economic challenges.

Highly branched, global value-creating networks with complex material flows are making monitoring the impact of harmful and hazardous contaminants increasingly difficult. Prerequisites for the safety of consumers are rapid responses to prevent the spreading of risks and to identify and eliminate the sources of risks.

Prospective concepts for product safety

The objective of our work is to develop viable concepts for forensic and cognitive diagnostics and sensory systems which, in combination with methods of artificial intelligence in networked systems, are able to test raw materials, products, and foods "from farm to fork" rapidly and at favorable cost for their safety and also their origin, quality, and shelf-life.

Our R&D work puts consumers at the fore and focuses on:

  • Product safety
  • Food safety / Food defense
  • New food systems
  • Circular economy

Highest product safety with our research

 

Hygienic food production

For the hygienic design of components, machinery, plants, and production environments we collaborate with leading global organizations such as EHEDG, 3A, and ENFIT. Our R&D activities, for example the development of a hygienic elasomer gripper, are based on the latest guidelines and standards.

 

Safe cleaning through digitalization

The Fraunhofer IVV has developed an innovative mobile cleaning device to improve the versatility and efficiency of cleaning processes. Cleaning processes are customized following positional detection of the contamination. The cleaning must hence no longer be carried out in accordance with a worst case scenario.

 

Safe processes with self-learning assistance systems

The self-learning assistance system for machine operators makes food production processes considerably safer. Algorithms generate reliable process data, enabling process abnormalities to be very quickly detected. Non-compliant production can thus be prevented in advance.

 

Safe packaging

Effective packaging design improves the safety and quality of a packaged product. We develop and optimize packaging systems. To do this we combine materials to form customized multi-material packaging and develop active systems such as moisture absorbing and antimicrobial packaging, so enhancing its protective functionality.

 

Testing of contact materials

In order to protect the health of consumers we study material migration and interactions between foods and the materials they are in contact with. We focus on components of printing inks and adhesives and also nano-materials. This forms the basis for German and EU legislation on food contact materials.

 

Shelf-life optimization

Using self-developed modular programs we can predict the shelf-life of any specific food product.

This work supports industrial companies with the development and optimization of product-specific packaging, including fault diagnosis. Development times can consequently be significantly shortened and the shelf-life and safety of packaged products can be greatly increased.

 

Sensory testing of foods

Our Sensory Analytics department continuously develops ever more advanced methods for the sensory testing of foods. This means that flavors and off-flavors and odors and off-odors can be analyzed and measured with increasing accuracy and specificity. Consequently undesired substances in foods can be precisely identified.

 

Analytics to evaluate food quality

Complex quality monitoring is required in order to guarantee food safety. Compact food scanners enable the quality of a food product to be determined using a rapid scanning procedure. To develop such rapid methods we continually research spoiling processes in selected products.

 

Safe sterilization methods

In order to prolong the shelf-life of foods and hence guarantee food safety we develop advanced sterilization methods using gas plasmas, UVC radiation, and electron beam technology. We also perform validations for standard sterilization processes.