CFA’s second Sustainable Shelf Life Extension project (SUSSLE2) concluded successfully in December 2015. All objectives were met by these £1.3m projects, with a unique quantitative microbiological risk assessment being used to underpin identification of a milder heat process than previously recommended, ensuring a safe shelf life for prepared chilled foods whilst reducing energy usage and improving organoleptic properties.
Lead researcher Professor Mike Peck of the Institute of Food Research explains: “The conclusion of this project is a milestone for the chilled food industry. The SUSSLE Process is based on sound scientific principles, with a robust and transparent scientific basis assuring safety at least equivalent to that for the current 10 day rule. Through this research we have identified a new, flexible approach using storage chill temperature and a combination
of factors which can be shown consistently to prevent growth/toxin formation, These are exciting times for the chilled food sector and the keen interest in SUSSLE already being expressed shows the significance of this work.”
Ten CFA Implementation Workshops have trained more than 80 members in the use of SUSSLE to date.
Six major multiples have signed non-disclosure agreements with CFA enabling them to discuss SUSSLE with eligible CFA members exclusively until 1 January 2018. Multiples have been invited to sign up to non-expiring confidentiality terms, but will not be given access to the process validation software, this being restricted to manufacturers. SUSSLE will be accessible by non-member manufacturers signing an NDA, attending an Implementation Workshop, complying with CFA’s Implementation Guidance and paying a licence fee.
Scientific papers relating to SUSSLE are to be published in high impact peer-reviewed journals.
The first of these has now been published: Quantification of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum spore loads in food materials, Applied and Environmental Microbiology doi: 10.1128/AEM.03630-15.
A second open access paper arising from the SUSSLE projects has been published: Risk presented to minimally processed chilled foods by psychrotrophic Bacillus cereus.
Posted 20 January 2016, updated 2019