BIOCOM Blocks of activity

Block 1. Outbreaks and cases of histamine fish poisoning. (0-36 months)

Seafood involved in all outbreaks of HFP, within a selected European region will be studied. This activity will be carried out during the entire project period and will determine (i) profiles of biogenic amines causing HFP and (ii) the product characteristics and microflora that allow toxic profiles of biogenic amines to be formed in seafoods. Food control authorities usually only determine histamine in seafoods that cause HFP. In contrast here we will determine profiles of several biogenic amines as well as the product characteristics and microflora that allow the biogenic amines to be produced. To supplement laboratory analyses information on seafood consumption, symptoms and possible synergistic factors will be collected by a questionnaire. The food control authority (partner 32.DVFA) has access to seafoods involved in HFP and this is essential to this WP.

Block 2. Seafood biogenic amine database. (0-18 months)

The constant and high occurrence of HFP in Europe shows a inadequate management of the problem and is due to a lack of available information. Existing data on HFP and biogenic amine formation in seafood will be collected in a database to allow more efficient use of available knowledge. Most important data gaps will be identified and lacking information generated. It is anticipated that new information on bacteria responsible for biogenic amine formation and the effect of product characteristics on microbial activity in minimally processed and modified atmosphere packed products will be required.

Block 3. Modelling and software development. (7-30 months)

Currently information about concentrations of biogenic amines in seafoods at the time of consumption is not available. To estimate consumer intake of biogenic amines mathematical models to predict formation during the distribution chain are required. The project will develop such models for the effect of temperature, atmosphere, pH and NaCl on major biogenic amine forming micro-organisms in seafood. Information collected in the seafood biogenic amine database (WP3.1.2) is essential to development of these models. The yield concept will be used to relate microbial growth and biogenic amine formation in seafood. To facilitate the practical use of these models they will be incorporated in user-friendly application software.

Block 4. Exposure assessment. (18-36 months)

Predictive models will be combined with information on seafood consumption, product characteristics and storage conditions from catch and retail distribution through to consumption. Model simulations will be used to demonstrate how changes in hygiene practices, storage conditions and product characteristics during the distribution chain influence levels of biogenic amines. The exposure assessment will be a pre-requisite for science based recommendations of the most efficient ways to reduce HFP.