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HomeInformationCould ice-cream be made more nutritious with meat left-overs?
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Could ice-cream be made more nutritious with meat left-overs?

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Most of the animal proteins found in the meat industry waste have, until now, been underutilised. The challenge is to transform such waste into food of higher functionality and added value. Thanks to the findings of the EU funded PROSPARE project, it is possible to reuse the protein and lipid fraction of disused food.

Up to 50% of the animal weight processed in the meat industry is discarded as left-overs and ends up composted or incinerated, despite beingrich in proteins and lipids. Turning the lipid fraction of such waste into biodiesel has proven too expensive. So the focus is now on reusing proteins. Today, only 22% is converted by the food industry into feed and barely 3% is consumed as food. The problem is that recovery methods are energy intensive. They also convert the source proteins into meals with poorer digestibility and nutrient properties as well as a low commercial value.

Thanks to a process involving enzymes to digest food, poultry left-overs such as bone and meat trimmings can be converted into proteins dubbed functional animal proteins hydrolyzates. They differ from existing protein hydrolyzates, from eggs, buttermilk, or fish already on the market in that they have a higher content of nutritionally useful amino acids. They can be used as supplements for sports diet, to help build up muscle tissue, and as additives in processed food, for example. So far, some of their properties — namely prebiotic, antimicrobiotic, antioxidant and hypotensive — have been demonstrated in vitro.

The technology developed under the project is now being tested by a Belgian food company, called PROLIVER. According to project co-ordinator Arnaldo Dossena, who is the head of the food science department at the University of Parma, in Italy It is hoping to enhance the nutritional quality of its protein hydrolysates, already sold in dietary, health and sports food supplements. One of the project partners, Mobitek-M, which is a Russian company specialised in production of protein-enriched food stuffs, is also planning on including these products into ice-cream, under the follow-up Rosano Project. They have built a plant in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation, which is about to start of transforming functional animal protein at a capacity of one hundred tonnes per day.

In addition to qualifying as food dietary supplement, experts disagree as to whether they might either qualify as novel foods used as food ingredients, or as additives. It partly depends on whether they were not already used for human consumption within the EU market prior to 1997, when the EU novel food regulation entered into force.

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