November 23rd 2016

International food safety research project

Which type of packaging is best suited to keep meat fresh? Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) conducts a transnational research project on innovative food packaging technology with the scientific focus on the interaction between packaging materials and packaged goods. The international cooperation project between science and business is funded with 1 million euros.

Recently, Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) was given the green light to commence a new INTERREG project under its leadership. The three-phase project aims to identify the implications of using particularly suitable packaging materials for meat in order to increase consumer safety. The project is supported by the University of Innsbruck, Kempten University of Applied Sciences, the Kempten Centre for Food and Packaging Technology (ZLV), and two well-known companies from the packing industry: product developer NaturaBiomat which specializes in green packaging and the internationally leading packing machine manufacturer Multivac.

The average Austrian eats about 100 kilograms of meat every year. Most of the meat reaches our homes wrapped in plastic. Packaging fulfills a central role in regards to logistics and storage and, in addition, interacts with the quality of its content. The effect of wrapping materials on packaged meat will be examined closer within the framework of the new MCI project. In the first project phase, packaging materials ranging from conventional plastics to renewable and sustainable resources will be analyzed. The different packaging types will be characterized by mechanical properties and functional parameters such as barrier function or tightness. The second phase will focus on the examination of the interaction between food and the analyzed packaging materials. Color, texture, bacteria, and fats will be evaluated by means of different analysis methods. The goal is to determine in how far packaging influences the products’ shelf life and, consequently, identify the type of packaging which is suited best to keep meat fresh. In the third phase, the applicability of the study’s results will be tested and recommendations for their practical use will be given.

The project not only facilitates professional networking between its participants but also serves the advancement of the Bavaria and Tyrol regions by demonstrating potential for an increased creation of value. The primary focus of the project is thus on the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of resources.

MCI Rector Andreas Altmann is proud of the recently initiated project: “As Entrepreneurial School®, MCI is committed particularly to solution-oriented research projects such as QualiMeat which provide a substantial contribution to the security and development of our location for businesses. I am particularly pleased that this project not only includes universities with the relevant expertise but that innovative and internationally successful companies are also on board.”

Project Manager and Head of Department & Studies Professor Katrin Bach adds: “I see the special challenge of the project as being able to achieve a valid quality description of packaging technologies, which may lay the foundations for developing new materials. The cooperation with our partners provides us with the best possible conditions to master this challenge.”

Further information:
“QualiMeat” project homepage
Innovative R&D at MCI

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Mag. (FH) Ulrike Fuchs
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