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Research continues to associate Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis  (MAP) with Crohn's disease. At an open lecture at Queen's University Belfast on the 16th October, global expert Professor Irene Grant will unravel the relationship between MAP and this intestinal disease.

Professor Irene Grant

A beta version of a calculator that uses the results of a titration with NaOH to calculate the % lactic acid, Soxhlet Henkel degrees, Thörner degrees, Soxhlet Henkel degrees and Dornic degrees of a milk sample has been added. Users may vary the molarity of the NaOH solution, note normality and molarity are identical for NaOH, and the volume of milk used. An accompaning tutorial that provides the underpinning science remains to be added.

The article "Isolating lactic acid bacteria from milk" has been updated following queries why controls are required using M17 agar to selectively enumerate Streptococcus thermophilus in environments containing L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.  While many strains of L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus are inhibited by the  β-glycerophosphate in M17, Shankar and Davies (1977) found that 23% of the strains of L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus tested grew well on this medium. Hence the need for controls to confirm colonies as Sthermophilus.

There is considerable interest in alternatives to thermal processing. A recent review in the International Journal of Dairy Technology by Ahmad and his colleagues looks at the effects of non thermal processes on the activity of milk enzymes. I have included the abstract below.

Impact of nonthermal processing on different milk enzymes. Ahmad et al (2019) https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0307.12622


Milk is highly perishable and deteriorates rapidly during storage. Although the thermal processing technologies successfully inactivate many enzymes and microorganisms up to a required level, they can negatively affect the natural flavour of dairy foods and decrease their nutritional value. Alternative nonthermal technologies have been established as an interesting approach to produce safe and healthy dairy products, without compromising their nutritional quality. These techniques have the ability to inactivate milk enzymes without affecting the milk quality. In addition, the combination of two different nonthermal techniques and mild heating has proven to be more effective to provide safety to milk when compared to the treatments alone. This review aims to evaluate the impact of nonthermal technologies, in particular, ultrasound, pulsed electric field, high‐pressure processing and ultraviolet irradiation on milk enzymes.

Despite the extensive research on the effects of low temperature storage of milk on the quality and yield of cheese, cheese companies continue to experience periodic problems due to milk being stored for several days on farms. Below is an abstract of some research published in 1994. It is as relevant today as then!


Milk stored at 3°C and 7°C was used to manufacture cheese and the quality and yield of cheeses were assessed. Storage of milk at both temperatures resulted in reduced yields. Storage at 7°C for 3 or more days and 3°C for 5 days adversely affected cheese quality while storage at 3°C for 3 days resulted in an improvement in quality. There was a significant correlation between cheese quality and the psychrotrophic count and total viable count (TVC) of the raw milks. Evidence indicated that the reduction in quality was largely due to the action of extracellular lipolytic enzymes produced by psychrotrophic bacteria. It was concluded that milk for Cheddar cheese manufacture should have a TVC of < 1 x 106 cfu/ml and preferably a count of < 1 x 105 cfu/ml.


Weatherup,W. and Mullan,W.M.A. (1993) Effects of low temperature storage of milk on the quality and yield of cheese. Proceedings of IDF Seminar on Cheese Yield and Factors Affecting Its Control, Cork, Ireland, pp. 85–94.

See also https://www.dairyscience.info/index.php/cheese-yield/354-effect-of-storing-milk.html .

University College Cork has announced an International Training Course on “Ice Cream Science and Technology”, which will take place in Ireland on 18-20 February 2020. This follows previous successful courses at UCC held biennially since 2004. The course will be delivered by Professor Douglas Goff.

UCC ice cream course

For further information please contact:
Mary McCarthy-Buckley

Food Industry Training Unit, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences
College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
University College Cork
Email: m.mccarthybuckley@ucc.ie

University College Cork (UCC), in association with Teagasc, has developed a part-time, blended-learning Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation. This qualification launched and ran very successfully in 2016/17 and is now being run for a fourth year. This year a once-off bursary has been made available by Taste 4 Success Skillnet. Eligible candidates will receive 50% funding towards the cost of their registration fees.

For further information please contact:

Dr Amy-Jane Troy Programme Manager, Food Industry Training Unit, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, University College Cork. Tel: 021 490 2799. Email: amyjane.troy@ucc.ie

Website: https://www.ucc.ie/en/fitu/courses/pgcert/

Download brochure: 

Please click on this link to download a brochure to read about the Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation 2018: PG Certificate brochure.

My article on why we are still finding viable cells of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in pasteurised milk has been published On Line ahead of print. Details are given below:

Mullan, W M A (2019) Are we closer to understanding why viable cells of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis are still being reported in pasteurised milk? International Journal of Dairy Technology. DOI-10.1111/1471-0307.12617. 

Full Open Access is available for 1-month at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1471-0307.12617 . Thereafter Read Only Access is available through ReadCube at https://rdcu.be/bGnES .

This intensive three-day training workshop will provide participants with knowledge of the principles of confectionery science, beginning with basic principles and working through various confectionery applications. Starting with principles of controlling phase transitions of sweeteners (sugar and sugar-free), the workshop will then focus on different sugar confectionery categories including hard sweets, caramel and fudge, aerated confections, and gummy/ jelly sweets. The workshop will finish with a focus on chocolate.

Confectionery course at UCCThe Lead Trainer

Professor Richard Hartel is a Professor of Food Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is lead coordinator of several industry-oriented confectionery courses at Wisconsin as well as instructor of an advanced confectionery science course within the University. He is lead author of the recent book ‘Confectionery Science and Technology’ which is based on the 2-week summer candy school for industry  (https://foodsci.wisc.edu/extension/candy/).

The content of this UCC FITU course draws from materials delivered in the resident course at University of Wisconsin-Madison which has been running for more than 50 years.

For further information, please contact:

Dr Angela Sheehan

Food Industry Training Unit

School of Food and Nutritional sciences

College of Science, Engineering and Food Science University College Cork, Ireland

+353 21 4901423 a.sheehan@ucc.ie www.ucc.ie/fitu

F https://www.facebook.com/foodindustrytrainingunit.ucc/

t https://twitter.com/UCCFoodTraining


The Dairy Industry Student Award is sponsored by The Society of Dairy Technology.

This award recognises the efforts of new entrants to the Dairy Industry and promotes their talent to a wide audience. The work of the winning individual will be communicated to a global audience, showcasing their achievement. The award will be presented at the prestigious trade lunch (on the Tuesday of the ICA) at the Nantwich International Cheese Awards in July 2019.

The award is open to any student studying a food science and technology course in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Courses may be vocational qualifications, diploma, degree and so on. There is no age restriction to applicants; however the student must be undertaking a dairy project or be employed within the dairy industry.

ALL submissions must be electronically submitted in both PDF and Word formats and NOT as a hard copy. It should be emailed to execdirector@sdt.org by May 30th and judging will take place during June.

Download an application form.

The Food Industry Training Unit (FITU) at University College Cork has designed a 2-day training programme in thermal processing for R&D, NPD, Operations, Technical, QA, QC personnel involved in formulating, developing, commercialising, manufacturing and troubleshooting any thermally-processed nutritional dairy-based beverages, such as UHT milk, ESL milk, clinical or sports nutrition products, infant formula, enriched milks, flavoured milks, cream liqueurs and elderly nutrition products.Thermal processing course at UCCThis course will be an important refresher for Food Science and Food Technology graduates many of whom may have 'turned off' when this was taught as well as essential  training for others.

The course will be delivered by Dr's Mike Lewis, Seamus O’Mahony and Professor Alan Kelly

For further information contact the FITU manager, details are given below.

Ms Mary McCarthy-Buckley, Manager

Tel:  +353 21 4903363    

Email:  m.mccarthybuckley@ucc.ie

Web:  htps://www.ucc.ie/en/fitu/contactus/

book on Polish cheeses

 There is relatively little information on the diversity of Polish cheeses. Professor Marek Kosmulski has decided to change this and has published a book detailing some 600 Polish cheeses. This is available free as a download. The book, in Polish, consists of a series of brief descriptions of each cheese accompanied by photographs. Using Google Translate it is relatively easy to get a good understanding of the major attributes of each cheese. The book can be downloaded from http://bc.pollub.pl/dlibra/publication/13557 .

Arguably one of the most significant scientific development's in the last 10 years has been the development of an unique gene editing technology that can be applied to whole cells called CRISPR/Cas9. This technology has many applications in biomedical research, including the potential to treat human genetic disease. However, the technology also has the potential to modify the human genome and change human society.

 One of the best free videos explaining how the technology works and giving the background to the discovery is given in the animation below produced at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT where Professor Feng Zhang, a leader in the development of this technology works.

Further information can be found on Professor Zhang’s website.

Two calculators for determining equilibrium moisture values corresponding to selected Aw values using the Guggenheim–Anderson–de Boer (GAB) model and  the Brunauer-Emmett-Tellet (BET) model have been added.

To use the models, the constants for the product concerned must be inputted. Selected Aw values are then added. The calculator will then calculate the equilibrium moisture content for each value and plot it against Aw, to give a sorption or desorption isotherm.

To note latest update from Dr Mark Tamplin the manager of Combase. Twenty nine additional models have been added bringing the total to sixty two.The new models include E coli models for lettuce and a Listeria monocytogenes model for Blue cheese.

logo for combase

New models include...

  • Lettuce - E. coli, Salmonella
  • Lettuce after chlorine wash - E. coli
  • Lettuce after electrolyzed water wash - E. coli
  • Brie cheese - E. coli
  • Camembert cheese - E. coli
  • Cheddar cheese – E. coli
  • Mozzarella cheese – E. coli
  • Mascarpone cheese - E. coli
  • Blue cheese – Listeria monocytogenes
  • Milk - Listeria monocytogenes
  • UHT 2% milk, 12% and 30% cream - Listeria monocytogenes
  • Ground beef - Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E. coli
  • Ground pork - Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E. coli
  • Bratwurst - Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E. coli
  • Ground turkey - Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella
  • Spinach - Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria innocua
  • Cabbage - E. coli
  • Eastern oysters - Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus

b0471997-053a-4a83-8ebf-1f23629c3868 News

Mark Tamplin, PhD

Manager, CB Premium
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
University of Tasmania
+1 813-510-0277 (USA), +61 428 520 583 (Australia)
Private Bag 54 Hobart TAS 7001

Preparing for Food Safety and Quality Audits – a practical approach.

An interactive Food Safety Management Workshop.

6th and 7th March 2019, at University College Cork


Food Safety and Audit Course at UCC

 Introduction. Note the change of date to the 6th and 7th March 2019

Food safety and quality audits are a fact of life for all food business operators.  Multiple audits are a frequent occurrence in a single production year, as companies need to demonstrate compliance with requirements from different customers, regulatory inspectors, and standards bodies.

Food Process Engineering Principles Workshop   25 October 2018 University College Cork

Food process engineering UCC



 A working knowledge of engineering principles is invaluable in the design and optimization of food processes, yet this topic is increasingly now receiving less attention on food science degree programmes.

 To address this growing knowledge gap we are providing an engaging and lively Food Engineering workshop. The workshop is presented by experts with vast experience in the application of engineering tools to solve relevant problems in the food industry.

Dr Mark Tamplin the manager of ComBase has issued an update. This is summarised below.

  • A new search feature has been added to the Browser - now, instead of sorting through hundreds of records to find a specific food type, simply add Food name as a search field and enter the food that you are interested in. For example, type ' lettuce' in the Food name field.
  • Each record now indicates the date that the record was added to ComBase.
  • An improved and simpler data donation template, plus instructional videos, have been added to the Data Submission page.
  • ComBase will award $1000 to the person who authors/co-authors the largest number of data donations. The award can be used to attend the IAFP Annual Meeting in the USA, or the IAFP European Symposium. The eligibility period for data donations is 30 March 2018 - 1 April 2019. ComBase will announce the winner on 1 May 2019.

ComBase can be contacted at booth #208 at the IAFP Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

Recent data donations to ComBase include:

  • Listeria monocytogenes in cut cantaloupe, honey dew and water melons (Danyluk)
  • Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli in cheddar, gouda, feta and brie cheeses (Kocharunchitt)
  • Listeria monocytogenes on frozen-thawed corn, peas, shrimp and snowcrab (Kataoka)
  • Variability of thermal resistance of Listeria monocytogenes strains (Aryani)
  • Bacillus cereus in reconstituted infant formula (Buss da Silva)
  • Clostridium perfringens in cooked-cooled beef-pork sausages (Tilkens)
  • Clostridium perfringens in cooked-cooled turkey breasts (Kennedy)
  • Effect of pomegranate powder on heat inactivation of Escherichia coli O104:H4 in ground chicken (Juneja)
  • Salmonella spp. reduction in meat jerky with temperature, potassium sorbate, pH, and water activity as controlling factors (Juneja)
  • Listeria monocytogenes in broccoli, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow onions, green olives-fresh, green olives-canned, black olives-canned, cantaloupe-flesh, cantaloupe-rind, avocado, cucumbers, and button mushrooms (Salazar)
  • Listeria monocytogenes in blue crab (Parveen)

For tutorials on how to use ComBase, refer to their YouTube channel and Combase sites on  LinkedIn Group, LinkedIn Company, Facebook, and Twitter.

Coming soon…

A Data Wizard will be released in a few months that will greatly simplify data donations

If you have suggestions for how ComBase can be improved, please contact Dr Tamplin at contact@combase.cc .

Ireland has a well-deserved reputation as a global leader in food innovation and it is fitting that a new world food resource, bia-biz.com, was recently launched by Michael Creed, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Launch of bia-biz.com

bia-biz.com is a comprehensive online directory of valuable technical content and free training for food producers, entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists and advisers.

Reflecting the complexity and knowledge needed in today’s food and beverage industry bia-biz.com has 13 pages, 130 sections over 2000 web links, 73 free online trainings, a global events calendar and a national regulations and support page for 112 countries. The layout, site-plan and search functionality is intuitive and user friendly.

There have been several updates to the Dairy Science and Food Technology website in May, 2018.

Ian Mullan who joined DFST as an Associate Consultant over a year ago has resigned. I am delighted to acknowledge Ian's contribution and wish him well in his new position.

The article "Factors affecting plaque formation by bacteriophages" has been updated to reflect research by Luhtanen et al., 2018* on cold-active phages.

*Luhtanen,A.-M.,Eronen-Rasimus,E., Oksanen,H.M., Tison,J.-L., Delille,B.,Dieckmann,G.S.,Rintala,J.-M. and Bamford,D.H. (2018). The first known virus isolates from Antarctic sea ice have complex infection patterns. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 94, 4, 1-15. (available from https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiy028).

The author with chemist colleague Ronnie Irvine visited The Echlinville Distillery at Rubane, just outside Kircubbin, in the Ards Peninsula. A brief account of our visit to Ireland's newest whiskey distillery is given here.

 Six new site calculators have been added.

Three are concerned with determining holding tube length, average holding time and Reynolds number:

 Calculator for determining Reynolds number
 Calculator for determining average holding time in a pasteurizer or UHT holding tube
 Calculator for determining holding tube length in pasteurizing and UHT plant

Following feedback from users of data loggers a unique highly flexible F value calculator designed to work with thousands of pasted values of time -temperatures has been added. This calculator allows users, for perhaps the first time, to compare F values obtained by numerical integration using the industry standard method, the trapezoid rule with the more accurate Simpson's 1/3 and 3/8 rules:

 • Calculator for determining the lethality (F, value) of a thermal process using the trapezoid and Simpson's rules. 

A calculator for predicting the concentration of HMF, lactulose and furosine in heated milks (whole, semi-skim and skimmed milk) that also calculates the F0, B* and C* values and the destruction of thiamine has been added.  The calculator has been designed to work with thousands of pasted values of time -temperatures. The values are integrated using the industry standard method, the trapezoid rule, and are compared with the more accurate method of numerical integration, Simpson's 1/3 and 3/8 rules:

 Calculator for predicting the concentration of HMF, lactulose and furosine in heated milks (whole, semi-skim and skimmed milk). It also calculates the F0, B* and C* values and the destruction of thiamine. The values are integrated using the industry standard method, the trapezoid rule, and are compared with a more accurate method of numerical integration, Simpson's 1/3 and 3/8 rules. 

A generic F calculator for UHT and similar high temperature processes has been added. The calculator has been designed to work with thousands of pasted values of time-temperatures. The values are integrated using the industry standard method, the trapezoid rule, and are compared with the more accurate method of numerical integration, Simpson's 1/3 and 3/8 rules

• Calculator for determining the lethality (F, B* values) and chemical changes (C* value) for UHT processes using the trapezoid and Simpson's rules. Applicable to all UHT processes and designed to take thousands of pasted values.

IFST is inviting young scientists in their first post-doctoral position, first academic position, age 35 or under, based in the UK, to apply for financial support to attend and participate in the World Congress.

IFST is the UK’s adhering body to IUFoST, the International body representing Institutes like IFST from around the world. The World Congress this year in Mumbai, India and runs 23-27 October 2018. This is a great opportunity to be involved with the world-wide community of food scientists and technologist and to showcase your research.

IFST will make a £1500 contribution to the selected candidate towards the costs of travel and attendance at this important international event.

Additionally, if IUFoST selects you as one of its Young Scientists, you will have the opportunity to address a global audience on your research following a plenary speaker. You will then join over 2000 other food scientists and technologists to experience this global event. As an IUFoST Young Scientist, local expenses and World Congress fees are also covered by IUFoST.

Closing date for entries: 27 March 2018.

Find out more and apply for funding.

A free article, "Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) processing of milk. Process lethality, chemical effects and use of temperature-time-integrators (TTIs) to predict heat treatment and over-processing" has been added to the Dairy Science and Food Technology website.

Typical pot of UHT milkThis article investigates how to calculate the lethal effects of UHT treatment and the usefulness of TTIs for differentiating sterilised, direct and indirectly processed UHT-treated milk. The importance of accessing accurate temperature time-data and knowing holding tube dimensions, flow rate, average and minimum holding time and the flow characteristics (Reynolds number) are discussed. The reliability of a model developed by Claeys et al. (2003) to predict the effects of UHT-processing on hydroxymethylfurfural, lactulose and furosine concentrations in milk is discussed. Free On Line calculators for calculating holding time, average flow rate, holding tube length in UHT and HTST plants are provided. A free On Line calculator programmed using the thermal constants calculated by Claeys et al. (2003) is provided to calculate hydroxymethylfurfural, lactulose and furosine concentrations following heat treatment in skim, semi fat and full fat milks. This calculator also calculates F0, B*, C* and % destruction of thiamine. Two methods of numerical integration are used to measure the cumulative lethal and chemical effects of UHT treatment, namely the Trapezoid and Simpson's rules.

The article can be viewed at https://www.dairyscience.info/index.php/thermal-processing/325-uht-processing.html .

This website gets a lot of Email and occasionally one connects.

According to the Daily Mail as many as 9.75 million people - 15 per cent of the UK population - are believed to have been hit by flu symptoms this week. Some 120 flu deaths have been recorded in England, 21 are known to have died in Scotland and eight in Northern Ireland.

It was against this background that a reader who works for a major food processing company sent me a picture of unpackaged bakery-items completely exposed to the environment at a food retailers with a global reputation for producing safe food. She was surprised that the retailer was not taking action to prevent contamination of their bakery items with airborne viruses and from customers with virus-contaminated hands.

The article on "Factors affecting plaque formation by bacteriophages" has been updated and can be accessed at 

https://www.dairyscience.info/index.php/enumeration-of-lactococcal-bacteriophages/factors-affecting-plaque-formation.html .

irene News

  Plaques of phage D29 produced by Mycobacterium avium spp paratuberculosis assayed using  Mycobacterium smegmatis. Image courtesy of Dr Irene Grant, Queens University  Belfast.

Lactic starter cultures have a well deserved reputation for inhibiting, and or in some instances killing, spoilage and pathogenic bacteria not just in dairy foods but in meat and vegetable products also.

While the importance of undissociated lactic acid as an inhibitor of the growth of pathogens by starters has been known for many decades it is only recently that the effect has been quantified for Listeria monocyotgenes in Gouda cheese.

On March 24 and 25, 2017 researchers and clinicians from around the world met at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA to discuss the current knowledge of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and its relationship to human disease.

 The conference participants reached consensus on several issues relating to MAP. A majority of the conferees (78%) concluded that the accumulating information now strongly supports the theory that MAP is a zoonotic bacterium. A majority of the conferees (72%) noted that MAP present in dairy products and meat causes disease in some humans and thus poses a public health threat (Kuenstner et al. (2017). 

Fat agglomeration is affected by the process parameters used in gelato and ice cream manufacture, the emulsifer stabiliser system and ingredients. Fat agglomeration has a significant role in dryness of extruded ice cream, slow meltdown, good shape retention and resistance to shrinkage during storage. Too much protein can result in an over stable fat emulsion and insufficient fat agglomeration. 

A calculator to determine the maximum MSNF compatible with normal fat agglomeration has been added and can be accessed here.


The Food Standards Agency announced a recall of Marks and Spencer chicken soup on the 24th March 2017. The affected soup has a chemical taint and has been withdrawn as  a precautionary measure.

The product details follow:

Product: Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Pack size: 600g
Use By date: 30 March 2017
Unique Product Code: 00711135.

The product should not be eaten and should be returned to the nearest M&S store.

The latest forum post concerns raw milk and A2 milk. The posts can be viewed at http://www.dairyscience.info/forum/nutrition-and-health_forum14.html .


Professor Jack Pearce died suddenly in 2016.

The IFST have organised a Memorial Lecture to recognise Jack's work and the esteem in which his students, colleagues and friends justly regarded him.

The lecture will be held on Friday, the 24 February, 2017 - 18:00 to 20:00, in the David Kier Building, Stranmillis Road, Queens University, Belfast, Lecture Theatre OG 012.


There is a legislative requirement in most developed countries for food companies to have validated-HACCP plans for all products. The current E.coli 01507:H7 outbreak in Scotland has been linked to raw milk cheese and the death of one child has been reported. Note there are few examples of well validated HACCPs even from large companies!

There are a number of published risk assessements for raw milk cheeses. One of the most comprehensive, "Microbiological Risk Assessment of Raw Milk Cheese", has been produced by Food Standards Australia /New Zealand using quantitative models developed by the University of Tasmania. The assesment can be downloaded from https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/proposals/documents/P1007%20PPPS%20for%20raw%20milk%201AR%20SD3%20Cheese%20Risk%20Assessment.pdf .

Congratulations to Gary Andrews, who has been awarded "Food Hero of the Year" at the Grow Make Eat Drink Awards 2016.

Gary Andrews, a Dairy Technologist at CAFRE, was nominated for the award by Paul McClean, the owner of Kearney Blue Cheese, for his contribution towards the development of the artisan cheese sector in Northern Ireland.

Food hero of the year
Gary was presented with the award by Frank Mitchell from UTV.

Kearney, Blue, a full fat, mould-ripened hard cheese, was  developed by Paul McClean in the village of Kearney, near Cloughy, Co. Down in Northern Ireland and is a cheese connoisseur’s delight. Gary has worked with Paul McClean and many other entrepreneurs to help make their product concepts commercial successes and is a well-deserved winner.

Recent deaths associated with the consumption of lettuce and other salad vegetables have been well publicised in the media. How do you advise parents to respond to the risks associated with eating salads and maintain consumption of healthy foods? And would this advice differ if they had an immunocompromised family member? Perhaps you have a view on my response to a query from a parent?  Please see http://www.dairyscience.info/forum/preparing-salads_topic432.html .

Launch of new dairy course

 Dairy processing is a very significant pillar of the Irish economy. In 2013 export values for Irish Dairy products and ingredients exceeded €3 billion making an enormous contribution to the domestic economy. The industry exports 85% of all output produced, making Ireland the 10th largest dairy export nation globally. The strongest performing category areas were butter, cheese, infant formula, milk and cream and whole milk powder and whey powders, while fat-filled milk powders, also accounted for 80% of growth in the prepared foods export category.

Is Thermus thermophilus the causal agent of pinking in cheese?

“Pinking” the development of a red / pink colour in many cheese-types has been known for many years and has been the attention of significant research interest for decades. Much of this research has been inconclusive although some association with lactobacilli has been suggested.

Recently Quigley et. al. (2016) used shotgun metagenomic sequencing to reveal the presence of bacteria corresponding to three phyla, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Deinococcus-Thermus in 8 ‘continental’ cheeses exhibiting pinking. The phylum Deinococcus-Thermus was absent in control cheese.

I purchased one pot of fat-free-natural yoghurt produced by a major dairy company from the Asda supermarket in Cookstown a few days ago. I opened it this lunchtime today (12th June). It had a use before date of the 24th June 2014 (see below).


1.sell-by News



I noticed the lumps, clumps of curd on the lid immediately. See below.


2.lid-inside News


Looking at the inside of the container the top part of the yoghurt was less viscous than the bottom, syneresis was starting and grains/lumps/nodules were clearly visible.


The grains / nodules can be clearly seen on the spoon images below.


3.spoonful News




4.empty-spoon News


It is always interesting to see how companies respond to problems. No one answered the contact phone number given on the carton. I also completed a web form on the company website and attempted to contact their PR company using the information on their website. The contact information was not correct however I managed to get the correct information from their website.  I eventually got a response of sorts from the website form.


This is the second time in a month that I have bought a stirred yoghurt with this fault. The first time was from a local company in Northern Ireland and it was a natural yoghurt made with whole milk.



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