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European Research Contract to Develop Innovative Meat-Coating

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European Research Contract to Develop Innovative Meat-Coating

European Research Contract to Develop Innovative Meat-Coating
March 26
09:20 2012

UK pharmaceutical manufacturer Pepceuticals has been awarded a European research contract to develop an edible coating for fresh meat which will increase the shelf-life of the product and ultimately reduce the need for oil-based plastic packaging. Leicester-based Pepceuticals is the only UK partner in this European research collaboration worth Eur1.6 million which is set to run for 18 months. The aim of the EU-funded project is to create a safe, biologically-active film which doesn’t affect the fresh meat and will replace the familiar plastic vacuum packs.

According to research by WRAP (June 2011)¹, UK consumers spend more money on meat than any other food item, and households are wasting around 570,000 tonnes of fresh meat each year, of which 260,000 (46%) is avoidable with a value of about £1.3 billion. The potential to apply an antimicrobial film in the processing factory should significantly prevent the deterioration of the fresh meat product, and save waste. It will revolutionise the look and feel of the traditional meat counter.

The same WRAP research reports that around 110,000 tonnes of packaging waste is produced, of which 81,000 tonnes (73%) are land filled. The majority of this material is cardboard and plastic that is mildly contaminated with blood following contact with meat. The need to improve the disposal of this material is a widely recognised issue so, if successful, this research project could provide a sustainable solution to the problem.

Pepceuticals managing director, Dr Kamal Badiani, says: “Antimicrobial peptides are widely used in the healthcare sector for tackling infection, so it is a natural progression to apply the same chemistry to food preservation.”

Pepceuticals, the UK’s leading manufacturer of peptides, was selected from a competitive tender process organised by business support organisation PERA, and now holds the license to sell the resulting meat-coat product across the UK. This is a significant development for the business and for the UK meat processing industry.

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