Every year in Europe, 88 million tonnes of food are thrown away (source: European Parliament). One of the main causes of this is the “Use By” date, which is often very short for food products.

This phenomenon is alarming from ethical, ecological and socio-economic standpoints since it directly impacts the producer, the processor, the distributor, the trader and, of course, the consumer.

The good news is that Realzyme/Realco’s enzymatic cleaning and removal of biofilms has been shown to increase the microbiological quality of finished products and their use-by date by up to 100%, thereby reducing food waste.

What was the study about?

The “Biofilm Expert” project aimed to analyse the impact of different cleaning protocols, including the implementation of regular enzymatic cleaning, on the quality and therefore the shelf life of food in the highly sensitive sectors of ready meals, collective kitchens, cheese production, cutting plants and butchery.

We therefore compared the results obtained following cleaning based on traditional chemistry with those obtained following enzymatic treatments at different frequencies.

This is a large-scale study in which 6 renowned industrialists participated for 2 years. Prestigious partners such as ULiège and Genalyse Partner also joined the project.

Based on hundreds of rigorous samples, we were able to scientifically prove that the eradication of biofilms on surfaces and tools used throughout the manufacturing process increases the quality of finished food products and therefore their shelf life.

What role do enzymes play?

Enzyme-based detergents have the unique ability to attack biofilms. This natural shell protects 99% of the bacteria, making them up to 1000 times more resistant to conventional cleaning and disinfecting agents, as well as to other external stress factors such as temperature, chemicals and mechanical force. By breaking down the biofilm membrane, the enzymes make the bacteria accessible to deep disinfection, resulting in a cleaner infrastructure and a reduced risk of food contamination.

Why is this study important?

In the face of numerous ecological and health challenges, reducing food waste and pressure on the industry is an absolute must. By significantly optimising the quality and therefore the shelf life of products in the food processing and professional kitchen sector, Realzyme/Realco has succeeded in proving what no chemical cleaning solution is capable of achieving.

Press coverage

The findings of this research project were published in the Swiss magazine, Frontiers, one of the most prominent scientific journals in the world of microbiology.

Realzyme/Realco was also the subject of numerous articles in the Belgian press, both locally and nationally.

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