“Given that these products are modified atmosphere packaged – and C.botulinum can grow where there is reduced oxygen – there’s always been the question if C.botulinum could be a problem with these products,” said Voysey.
“History dictates that we have not seen cases of botulism associated with these sorts of products over the last 40/50 years they’ve been on sale. Therefore, history suggests that there isn’t a problem – but there does appear to be a theoretical risk that clostridium botulinum could grow and cause problems.”
Resistant to C.botulinum
At its core, the research will examine why there have not been more cases of botulism related to bread products. It will also aim to explain more effectively what makes these sorts of products so resistant to contamination by C.botulinum.
“It’s not that we are trying to scaremonger at all, it’s really about trying to understand the reasons why we aren’t seeing the problem and the ultimate idea really is to try to put together a set of criteria that makes these sorts of products safe,” Voysey added.
Should the research yield positive results, the outcome could be a boost to the shelf-life of MAP products beyond the standard ten days.
‘What makes them safe?’
“But we haven’t got those sorts of criteria for an ambient stable product, such as modified atmosphere packaged bread,” Voysey continued.
“The idea behind the project is to understand what makes these products safe and ideally we would like to put together a set of criteria that dictates what makes these products safe.”
Campden BRI announced the research project, which will begin on 1 April and run for 18-months, earlier this month. It will involve suppliers and retailers from across the bread sector. Any companies wanting to take part in the research should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, more than two thirds of Brits don’t know what ultra-processed foods are, according to new research by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).