Can you tell us more about you and the company that you represent? How it intertwines with the field of food safety?

C-Tech Innovation is a small process development company. We develop bespoke industrial processes and process equipment for commercial clients. I am a physical chemist by training, and our team includes electrical and mechanical engineers.

What determined you to join the team of SafeConsume?

We had previously developed a novel radio frequency defrosting machine which was intended to be used in retail food shops. The idea was that if food could be defrosted rapidly and safely, then this could replace the need to defrost foods over-night in the shop, and the amount lost through wastage would be reduced. The target foodstuffs in that previous application were frozen dairy cakes, but we also showed that it worked on frozen meat and fish. Note that radio frequency technology is used industrially for defrosting foodstuffs. It is better than microwaves because it penetrates more evenly into food matrices; microwaves only penetrate into the outer layer (1-2 cm). Radio frequency avoids hotspots, which you get when using microwaves to defrost food: as soon as one part has melted then that same part gets much warmer, while other bits are still frozen. The idea of joining SafeConsume was that we would develop this technology further to make it suitable for domestic use.

What is your role in SafeConsume?

I lead Work Package 4, the core members of which are five companies, each with a product sector related to the project, plus some design expertise.

Bob Crawford, Managing Director of C-Tech Innovation Ltd.

What do you think will be the most important benefits/deliveries from SafeConsume?

Overall the project will bring an integrated view of opportunities for improved domestic food hygiene. This will be of use to national and other agencies responsible for public health.

What are the ambitions of your operation in the field of changing consumer patterns of behaviour?

Our company would like to offer an improved defrosting technology to a large consumer goods company who can bring it to market. By introducing an improved defrosting technology, we hope to reduce incidences of food poisoning caused by poor defrosting.

What is your best advice to consumer on how to change in order to reduce the risks of food borne illness?

From the point of view of our particular involvement, my advice would be to make sure that food is defrosted thoroughly before cooking.

What do you think is the first thing that consumers should keep in mind in order to avoiding contamination?

Avoiding contamination from things like raw poultry is very important, whether by hands or cloths or surfaces or utensils. So, pay attention when using raw chicken and meat!