Barcelona Biofilm Summit by Alimentaria FoodTech or how to eliminate microorganisms in food and beverage production

Barcelona Biofilm Summit by Alimentaria FoodTech or how to eliminate microorganisms in food and beverage production

The congress on food security extended its scope thanks to its virtual format

Biofilms are microorganisms that adhere to certain surfaces in food and beverage production plants. The second edition of the Barcelona Biofilm Summit, Alimentaria FoodTech’s conference which was held entirely virtually, dealt with how to detect and finally eliminate them.

The second edition of the Barcelona Biofilm Summit took place independently of its host show, Alimentaria FoodTech which, due to the current situation, will be held from 6 to 9 October 2020 in Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Vía venue.

The digital congress was attended by 702 unique users from 32 countries, with peaks of over 575 simultaneous listeners. Together with Alimentaria FoodTech, el Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentària IRTA, ), la Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) e ITRAM Higiene were responsible for preparing the programme, which was composed by Sara Bover, researcher and head of the Food Safety Programme at IRTA; Bill Keevil, president of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Foods of the Food Standards Agency; Rob Limburn, Manager of the Heat Resistance and Decontamination Group at Campden BRI; Belén Martín, from IRTA’s Food Safety Programme; and José Juan Rodríguez, expert professor in Food Safety at the UAB.

During the session, Keevil warned that biofilms are a problem that, beyond contamination and its health effects, has important economic effects, costing the UK National Health Service more than £ million a year. For his part, Limburn highlighted that “there is a wide qualitative and quantitative diversity of biofilms in processing environments, so disposal strategies are not always equally effective”. Along these lines, José Juan Rodríguez, professor of food safety at the UAB, stated that “enzymatic cleaning is the best proven strategy for eliminating biofilms” and determined that “mixed biofilms are the most complicated to eradicate and, therefore, are the ones that should be used to validate cleaning products”.

Such adherence of microorganisms to work and handling surfaces in food and beverage production is a global problem affecting the entire food industry. According to data from the AINIA technology centre, complex microorganisms cause food-borne illnesses which, in the European Union alone, affect more than 20 million people every year. Their detection and elimination is therefore a key factor for the industry and a central element of food safety.

For Ricardo Márquez, director of Alimentaria FoodTech, ‘it was important that the congress provide facilities for its participants in the current context. Offering the contents online and free of charge has allowed the scope of the event to be extended and to continue providing the sector with a top-level platform where it can find out about its latest developments, at a time when the food and beverage industry has to continue to move forward and food safety is an issue of the utmost importance’.

The next edition of the Barcelona Biofilm Summit will be held in person at Alimentaria FoodTech. The benchmark show in Spain for food processing equipment, ingredients and technology will be held from 19 to 21 October 2021, at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Vía venue.

Alimentaria FoodTech will present a transversal offer of processing, ingredients, packaging, industry 4.0, food safety, refrigeration, handling, logistics and other industrial services.

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