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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 11:29

Developing a scientific procedure for improving and standardizing the elaboration process of table olives

Miguel Angel Ruiz's thesis defense Miguel Angel Ruiz's thesis defense

This doctoral dissertation has been developed within the framework of Doctores en Empresa programme. This thesis creates a protocol that allows to assess the sanitary hygienic compliance of the production process of table olives and to predict the effects of introducing corrective measures on the final product.

The doctoral dissertation 'Improvements of the elaboration process of table olives with Aloreña de Malaga PDO: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points in the industries' was written by the researcher Miguel Angel Ruiz Bellido within the framework of Doctores en empresa programme for PhD students working in sector-related companies. The research concludes with the implementation of a protocol and scientific procedure that allows the processes' standardization and quantitative evaluation of the degree of sanitary hygienic compliance along the different stages of the table olives' production. Likewise, it allows to predict the effects of the introduction of corrective measures on the quality and safety of the final products.

Miguel Angel Ruiz explained: “The idea is this protocol can be used by the sector-related companies, so we created EBT Oleica in order to facilitate this transfer.”

To conduct this study, the methodology has been divided into two parts. New techniques, such as metagenomics and statistical modeling, will allow to obtain more knowledge about how different modifications—which are related to the reduction of the sodium chloride's content, rest of the olives and application of a heat treatment to the fruits—can affect the process.

On the other hand, the systems of hazard analysis and citrus control points of different industry sectors in varied campaigns have been evaluated. Furthermore, the degree of sanitary hygienic compliance has been assessed through physicochemical and microbiological analytics along the processing chain.

Fieldwork in companies
To carry out the doctoral dissertation, three companies related to Aloreña de Malaga were visited in three successive production campaigns (2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16). Then, the researcher obtained samples of environmental control, surface of machinery and operators, fruits, dressings, liquids of government and water tank in order to accomplish physicochemical and microbiological analytics (> 650).

In this way, the population levels of mesophilic aerobes, yeasts, lactic bacteria, enterobacteria, sporulated, presence of Listeria, Salmonella, Clostridium and coagulase-positive Staphylococcus were studied. Based on results, a mathematical model was generated. In this context, it estimated the degree of sanitary hygienic compliance of the production process of this type of table olives through a weighting system—based on current legislation and expert opinions—and a probabilistic model of risk management.

The relative contribution of each phase to the quality and safety of the final product was evaluated and weighted by a panel of experts from the scientific field and Aloreña de Malaga. The presence of pathogenic species that could pose a risk to consumers was not detected in any company.

As a result, different data was obtained. On the one hand, olives' dressing season was the most critical within the process, since the aromatic herbs and other ingredients present a high microbial load. This is added directly to the packaged goods with no pre-treatment. On the other hand, it is recommended to reduce the number of microorganisms in the environment and a greater control of water for human consumption.

With all the information obtained, the development of the protocol and scientific procedure of standardization and evaluation in the production process and outlook of the effects of introducing corrective measures on the table olives' production has been achieved.

 

References:
Improvements of the elaboration process of table olives with Aloreña de Malaga PDO: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points in the industries. PhD student: Miguel Angel Ruiz Bellido; Thesis Directors: Antonio Valero Diaz; Francisco Noe Arroyo Lopez; Eduardo Medina Pradas.

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