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Integrated Approach to enable Traceability of the Cold chain of Fresh Chilled Meat and Fish Products by means of tailor-made Time/Temperature Indicators


Project (Collective Research) in the 6th EU-Research Framework Programme

Project Duration:

15.09.2005 – 14.09.2008

Project Manager:

Maria Eden


The consumption of chilled and frozen meat and fish products within the EC is tremendously growing whereas food safety and control are of great concern for the whole consumers community. Therefore, the reinforcement of confidence in meat and fish products, especially regarding cold-chain aspects, is of high priority for all involved in food manufacturing, trade, logistic and distribution, especially as Regulation 178/2002/EEC on General Food Law will require traceability to be established at all stages of the food chain from 1 January 2005. This Directive will force the introduction of community controls of the treatment of agricultural products and foodstuffs.

The freshness or the spoilage of fresh, chilled meat and fish products is mostly related to temperature conditions during transport and storage. Along the whole lifecycle of the products, it is of an utmost importance to be able to monitor the cumulative degree of degradation of the products due to breaks in the cold-chain.

Even if all actors involved in the manufacturing and distribution chain of food products are taking all precautions, the concerned IAGs of the food producing industries in Europe are convinced that only the wide spread application of reliable, irreversible Time-Temperature Indicators (TTIs) which can record and display the break of the storage conditions provides the monitoring of the real state of freshness along the product’s life. At the same time, the application of TTIs are a comprehensive approach to assure food safety and public confidence, allowing transparency of all actions connected with the logistic chain, maximum information in understandable form, effective traceability of all kinds of foodstuff and will thus be a suitable standardised measure to keep the expected EC regulations of 2005.

Against this situation, the proposing IAGs intend to take an integrated and more proactive approach to the problem: the aim is the introduction of optimised TTIs for specific products of the European meat and fish industry and to encourage and train their members in the respective application in order to increase the consumer’ s confidence in food safety. The IAGs are convinced that a Collective Research project is an excellent instrument for this intention.

The outcome of the FRESHLABEL project will be the visualisation of the quality and safety of meat and fish products by means of the generalised application of TTIs and associated training of the SMEs.

The proposing IAGs intend to take an integrated and more proactive approach to overcome the problem of the missing traceability of the cold chain: the aim is the joint introduction of tailor-made TTIs for specific products within the European meat and fish industry and to provide the necessary support to their members by means of training measures in order to fulfil the new obligations according to the EC Regulation 178/2002/EEC in 2005. All partners are convinced that Collective Research is an excellent instrument for this intention as it would be impossible for single SMEs to find a solution for this obligation on their own.

The project will thus have four main impacts:

  • It will enable the generalised introduction of TTIs in key sectors of the European meat and fish industry with the support of IAGs – single SMEs would be swamped with this intention.
  • It will facilitate the approval of the FRESHLABEL TTIs by the big supermarket chains by IAG driven interrogations regarding the definition of requirements and application tests in the respective work packages.
  • It will facilitate the implementation of the new European Directives to be adopted in 2005 dealing with the traceability of the cold chain of food products by means of standardised methods.
  • It will increase the commercial image of such indicated products, leading in turn to increased consumer’s confidence in product quality and safety and thus to an increased market demand for these products

Further information on related topics:

Press release: Intelligent label for better food

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