Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
FROZEN PACKAGED AGRICULTURAL FOOD PRODUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/042844
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A frozen packaged agricultural food product comprising: - frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold, from a waste intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact; - a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant- derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled, is resistant to microwaves and therefore suitable to be used as a cooking vessel and as a plate in which the vegetables contained therein are consumed after microwave cooking.

More Like This:
Inventors:
ROLLI, Gian Paolo (Via Giotto 8, Roseto degli Abruzzi, 64026, IT)
Application Number:
IT2015/000223
Publication Date:
March 16, 2017
Filing Date:
September 11, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
INDUSTRIE ROLLI ALIMENTARI S.P.A. (Via Nazionale 544, Roseto degli Abruzzi, 64026, IT)
International Classes:
A23B7/04; B65D81/34
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009055051A12009-04-30
Foreign References:
US20070148306A12007-06-28
EP2277802A12011-01-26
US4746019A1988-05-24
EP2502846A12012-09-26
US20050042360A12005-02-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO, Micaela et al. (Modiano & Partners, Via Meravigli 16, Milano, 20123, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A frozen packaged agricultural food product, characterized in that it comprises:

- frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold, from a waste intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact;

- a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant- derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled at least partially, is resistant to microwaves and therefore suitable to be used as a cooking vessel and as a plate in which said vegetables contained therein are consumed after microwave cooking.

2. The product according to claim 1 , characterized in that said frozen vegetables and mushrooms are obtained by using an agronomic method that comprises the steps of:

- performing a preventive chemical, physical and pedologic analysis of the soils intended for cultivation, in order to identify at least partially their composition, humidity and temperature and verify the absence of pathogens, infesting organisms and pollutants;

- selecting, among natural seeds and mycelia, not genetically modified, the ones that are most suitable for the soil parameters identified previously;

- performing iterated periodic checks of the cultivated vegetables, mushrooms, which grow after seeding, in order to detect pathologies and/or infestations thereof;

- performing at least one plant protection treatment by using active ingredients selected among insecticides, herbicides, acaricides, limacides and fungicides;

- proximate to the harvest period, performing iterated periodic spot checks of the cultivated vegetables, mushrooms in order to measure the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients;

- upon detections of the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold of 0.01 mg/kg, harvesting the cultivated vegetables, mushrooms.

3. The product according to claim 2, characterized in that the operations for measuring the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients performed on the samples of said cultivated vegetables and/or mushrooms are performed in a laboratory by means of instruments selected among gas chromatographs with specific detectors (ECD, NPD, FD), gas chromatographs coupled to mass spectrometers, liquid chromatographs with spectrophotometric detectors (diode array), liquid chromatographs coupled to mass spectrometers of the UPLC-MS (Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry) type and atomic absorption spectrophotometers HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography).

4. The product according to claim 1 , characterized in that said frozen vegetables are of the of the type of Liliaceae, Solanaceae, Umbelliferae,

Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Leguminosae and Chenopodiaceae, and frozen mushrooms of the Agaricaceae type.

5. The product according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said frozen vegetables are of the type selected among garlic, asparagus, basil, Swiss chard, broccoli, artichokes, carrots, cauliflowers, chicory, turnip greens, onion, chick peas, beans, Borlotti beans, green beans, broad beans, fennel, lentils, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, leeks, parsley, celery, salad, endive, spinach, cabbages, pumpkin and zucchini.

6. The product according to claim 1 , characterized in that said waste is intended for a fermentation tank of a biogas production unit, in said fermentation tank said waste is converted into digestate used as fertilizer on the respective cultivation soil in a new step of cultivation of vegetable products.

7. The product according to claim 6, characterized in that said digestate comprises a liquid phase and a solid phase, said liquid phase comprising ammonia nitrogen, N-NH4, phosphoric acid, H3P04, phosphorus ions and salts, potassium ions and salts, calcium ions and salts, magnesium ions and salts, sulfates and trace elements, said solid phase comprising ammonia nitrogen.

8. The product according to claim 1 , characterized in that said container is constituted by a box-like body made of cardboard provided with an internal lining layer made of a material such as ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA) and polyethylene (PE).

9. Use of the frozen packaged agricultural food product, comprising the steps of:

- storing in a freezer said product constituted by frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a preset threshold, from a waste intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact, and a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant-derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled at least partially and is resistant to microwaves;

- extracting said product from the freezer;

- cooking said product in the microwave oven for a predefined time;

- extracting said product;

- leaving said product to rest for a predefined time; - consuming said vegetables contained within said container directly from said container.

Description:
FROZEN PACKAGED AGRICULTURAL FOOD PRODUCT

The present invention relates to a frozen packaged agricultural food product.

It is known that food habits and consumption ways of individuals have changed considerably in recent years.

In particular, the reduction of the time available to dedicate to the preparation of meals has caused greater interest in frozen products, even in predefined portions, by way of which it is possible to optimize the management of one's own food requirement, avoiding waste and reducing cooking times by using a microwave oven.

Moreover, greater awareness of the importance of healthy eating has led to greater attention of the consumer to the healthiness of the products consumed and to their origin, which is an assurance of their quality.

Moreover, one should not neglect the fact that consumer choices are influenced, particularly in recent times, also by the impact that the production, packaging and consumption of a given product can have on the environment.

For these reasons, research into healthy food products of high quality, adapted to be cooked by using a microwave oven, and to have packages made of materials with reduced environmental impact and suitable to be introduced in a microwave oven, is becoming increasingly intense.

The aim of the present invention is to solve the problems described above, by providing a frozen packaged agricultural food product the production and use of which has a reduced environmental impact.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a frozen packaged agricultural food product obtained by adopting an agro-industrial process with minimal environmental impact suitable to minimize industrial waste.

Another object of the invention is to provide a frozen packaged agricultural food product that has a recyclable package with reduced environmental impact.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a frozen packaged agricultural food product that has a low cost, is relatively simple to provide in practice and is safe in application.

This aim, as well as these and other objects that will become better apparent hereinafter, are achieved by a frozen packaged agricultural food product, characterized in that it comprises:

- frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold, from a waste intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact;

- a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant- derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled at least partially, is resistant to microwaves and therefore suitable to be used as a cooking vessel and as a plate in which said vegetables contained therein are consumed after microwave cooking.

This aim and these objects are also achieved by way of the use of a frozen packaged agricultural food product that comprises the steps of:

- storing in a freezer said product constituted by frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a preset threshold, from a waste intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact, and a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant-derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled at least partially and is resistant to microwaves;

- extracting said product from the freezer;

- cooking said product in the microwave oven for a predefined time;

- extracting said product;

- leaving said product to rest for a predefined time;

- consuming said vegetables contained within said container directly from said container.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the frozen packaged agricultural food product according to the invention.

The frozen packaged agricultural food product according to the invention comprises:

- frozen vegetables and mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold, from a waste (not edible or of limited interest or not compatible with the specific characteristics of the finished product to be provided), intended for an industrial transformation with low environmental impact;

- a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant- derived), paper, cardboard, said container being of a type that can be recycled and is resistant to microwaves and therefore suitable to be used as a cooking vessel and as a plate in which the vegetables and mushrooms contained therein are consumed after microwave cooking, simplifying and optimizing the entire product utilization process.

The thermo-mechanical treatment can comprise steps for cooking, even partial cooking, and deep freezing of the vegetables and mushrooms. It is useful to specify that the container can be at least partially constituted by ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE) in order to render the container recyclable.

The possibility is not excluded, however, that the container might be constituted at least partially by lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant-derived), in order to render the container compostable.

According to a solution that is particularly effective and efficient, the frozen vegetables and mushrooms can be obtained by using an agronomic method that consists of a series of consecutive steps, some of which are reiterated according to specific cycles.

First of all, it is necessary to perform a preventive chemical, physical and pedologic analysis of the soils intended for cultivation, in order to identify at least partially their composition, humidity and temperature and veri fy the absence of pathogens, infesting organisms and pollutants.

According to the invention, therefore, during all the steps of cultivation, including those that precede seeding, a technical agricultural engineer must perform several inspections in the field.

In particular, preventive analyses of the soil consist in verifying the physical-chemical conditions of the soils.

The fields for the cultivations must therefore be selected by avoiding the presence, in the vicinity, of potentially polluting sites, verifying the texture of the soils, their slope, the availability of water and trying to minimize the distance from the processing facility.

In order to optimize production, optional preventive weeding and/or fertilization operations are also provided: these steps, also, must take into account the need to minimize the introduction in the environment of harmful substances, and are therefore performed by using herbicides and/or fertilizers that have a low environmental impact and can be absorbed by the soil, leaving negligible residual quantities of potentially pollutant substances (in any case lower than predefined threshold values). One then proceeds by selecting, among natural seeds and mycelia, not genetically modified, the ones that are most suitable for the soil parameters identified previously.

The seeds used, as well as the mycelia of the mushrooms, must be selected among the varieties specifically identified by the wording "GMO FREE". Moreover, they must have specific varietal characteristics that make them suitable to obtain the maximum harvest yield and limit the need for treatments: to obtain such characteristics, it is necessary to identify the seeds (or mycelia) that are most suited for the characteristics of the soil in which they will be placed; each individual type of seed and/or mycelium ensures the best yield if placed in a soil that has given characteristics. The pairing of a specific seed (mycelium) with a respective soil therefore allows to ensure optimum productivity and also to ensure a high quality standard of the vegetables (mushrooms) at the end of the cultivation. It is evident that plants or mushrooms that can grow ? in an ideal environment (from a chemical, physical and pedologic profile) are less subject to diseases, infections and infestations and therefore allow to minimize the use of pesticides.

Moreover, the selection of the particular variety (or mycelium) is aimed at ensuring the adequacy of the vegetable product (mushroom) that can be obtained with reference to the intended purpose of use (e.g., choice of specific varieties of vegetables to be correctly processed and transformed in an industrial environment).

In this case also, it is specified that the choice of the fertilizer is suitable to ensure that the seeds (mycelia) are in an environment that corresponds as much as possible to the ideal environment (from a chemical, physical and pedologic standpoint) expected by the manufacturer (and/or by the breeder, in the case of new varieties of vegetables).

Once the seeding step has ended, a specialized engineer must perform iterated periodic checks of the vegetables and/or mushrooms, which grow after seeding, in order to detect pathologies and/or infestations of the vegetables.

Performing periodic checks, at short intervals, of the cultivations al lows to identify promptly the presence of diseases and/or infestations and to circumscribe any plant protection treatments to limited areas, or to minimize the dosage thereof in view of the minimal incidence of the disease or infestation on the vegetables and/or mushrooms.

For the reasons listed above it may therefore be necessary, in some cases, to perform at least one plant protection treatment by using active ingredients selected among insecticides, herbicides, acaricides, limacides and fungicides.

Such treatments allow to maximize productivity (since they protect the vegetables and mushrooms being cultivated against damage that might be generated by diseases and/or infestations).

Timeliness in performing the plant protection treatment in the steps of first onset (even just sporadic and localized) of diseases and/or infestations also allows to limit the diffusion thereof, also allowing to subject to the treatment only the affected areas, avoiding any contact with plant protection products of the regions that are not affected.

Proximate to the harvest period, it is further necessary to perform iterated periodic spot checks of the vegetables and/or mushrooms in order to measure the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients.

Upon detections of the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than 0.01 mg/kg, it is possible to harvest the cultivated vegetables, mushrooms.

With particular reference to the threshold value described so far by way of example, it is important that harvesting occurs at the maturation of the vegetable after verifying that the plant protection residues are below 0.01 mg/kg.

It should be noted that some vegetables have specific behaviors that must be assessed by the specialized engineer in order to select the best moment for harvesting (optionally also as a function of the weather conditions, of the night-day cycle and of the seasonal cycle).

Periodic checks comprise a representative sampling of the harvesting field performed by a technical agricultural engineer and an analysis aimed at verifying any presence of a large number of active ingredients (over 400): each one of these active ingredients must be below the predefined threshold, for example equal to 0.01 mg/kg (0.01 ppm). The decision to proceed or not with harvesting is assigned exclusively to the technical agricultural engineer, who will authorize it only when the tests confirm the presence, in the cultivated vegetables and/or mushrooms, of a residue of active plant protection ingredients lower than a predefined threshold, for example equal to 0.01 mg/kg.

It is convenient, in terms of the optimum application of the method according to the invention, for the operations for measuring the residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients to be performed in a laboratory in which there are gas chromatographs with various detectors ( BCD, NPD, FD), gas chromatographs coupled to mass spectrometers, liquid chromatographs with spectrophotometric detectors (diode array) and/or coupled to mass spectrometers of the UPLC-MS (Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry) type and atomic absorption spectrophotometers HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography).

The analyses prescribed by the periodic checks are performed, therefore, at qualified laboratories that ensure the reliability of each analytical data item.

It is deemed useful to specify that according to the invention, only upon the non-detectability of residues of active ingredients (or in any case upon a detection that is below a predefined threshold value) is it possible to classify the vegetables and/or mushrooms with the definition "without residual pesticides".

It is appropriate to specify that in addition to pesticides, nitrates and heavy metals, depending on the type of crops, also can be analyzed in order to minimize their presence on the harvest.

Moreover, in order to render traceable each batch of frozen packaged agricultural food product derived from a harvest obtained by applying the agronomic method described above, all the data related to each step are catalogued in a specific database and associated with a respective identification string that is provided on the containers with which the product, vegetable and/or mushroom, will be marketed.

Full traceability of the product in terms of cultivation site, seeds used, treatments performed, etc., i.e., all the detail information required to give assured indications as to the origin of the product, is in fact provided for vegetables, mushrooms classified also as "without residual pesticides".

It is specified that even after harvesting, the vegetable and/or mushroom must be treated and transformed with precautions adapted to prevent any possible contamination in subsequent steps until it is sold. The purpose of this additional precaution in the final steps of the preparation of the product that will be sold is necessary so that the product can retain the "without residual pesticides" qualification, i.e., so that the product on sale also has a pesticide residue below the limit of 0.01 mg/kg (or other predefined threshold), even if it is used as an ingredient in a finished product constituted by a plurality of different ingredients (e.g., ready-made dishes based on vegetables with rice, spelt; etc.).

All the other ingredients must therefore have a pesticide residue lower than the threshold value.

It is specified that the frozen vegetables can be of the Liliaceae type

(such as for example garlic, onion, asparagus, etc.), Solanaceae (such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc.), Umbelliferae (such as carrots, fennel, etc.), Asteraceae (such as artichoke, chicory, etc.), Lamiaceae (such as for example basil), Brassicaceae (such as savoy cabbage, broccoli, etc.), Cucurbitaceae (such as for example pumpkin, zucchini, etc.), Leguminosae (such as peas, broad beans, etc.) and Chenopodiaceae (such as spinach, beets, etc.).

Any frozen mushrooms used can be of the Agaricaceae type, such as for example champignon mushrooms.

The waste produced by the thermo-mechanical treatment to which the vegetables are subjected can be intended for a fermentation tank of a biogas production unit.

This waste in the fermentation tank of the biogas production unit is converted into digestate used as fertilizer on the respective cultivation soil in a new step of cultivation of vegetable products.

The digestate can comprise a liquid phase and a solid phase.

The liquid phase can comprise ammonia nitrogen, N-NH 4 , phosphoric acid, H 3 PO 4 , phosphorus ions and salts, potassium ions and salts, calcium ions and salts, magnesium ions and salts, sulfates and trace elements.

The solid phase can comprise ammonia nitrogen.

It is useful to specify that in the process for use of the digestate only the solid phase is used as fertilizer, while the liquid part is partly returned to the tank in order to feed a new fermentation process.

The use of digestates instead of chemical fertilizers improves both the environmental balance and the energy balance, also causing a substantial cost reduction.

The digestate is in fact an excellent fertilizer in which the nitrogen is present in a form that can be assimilated directly by plants.

According to a preferred solution, the container can be constituted by a box-like body made of cardboard provided with an internal lining layer made of a material such as ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA) and polyethylene (PE).

Such internal lining layer is waterproof, thus preventing the water naturally contained in vegetables and mushrooms from wetting the container, rendering it in practice unusable. In any case, the possibility that the container might be a tray provided with a closure film made of polymeric material is not excluded.

Once the food has been eaten, it is therefore possible to separate the container from the closure film for their separate recycling.

More particularly, the use of the frozen packaged product consists in:

- storing in a freezer the product constituted by frozen vegetables, mushrooms, subjected beforehand to a thermo-mechanical treatment for the separation of an intermediate product, which has a residual concentration of active plant protection ingredients lower than a preset threshold, from a waste intended for a fermentation tank of a biogas production unit, and a container constituted at least partially by at least one material selected among ethylene vinyl alcohols (EVOH), polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), lignin, Cartene, corn-derived polymers, cellulose (plant-derived), paper, cardboard, the container being of a type that can be recycled at least partially and is resistant to microwaves;

- extracting the product from the freezer;

- cooking the product in the microwave oven for a predefined time; the product can be cooked for a time comprised between 4 minutes and 8 minutes at a power level between 700 W and 950 W, depending on the recipe of the product;

- extracting the product;

- leaving the product to rest for a predefined time, generally 1 minute;

- consuming the vegetables contained within the container directly from the container.

The product does not require a slow thawing period in the reirigerator or at ambient temperature but can be placed directly in the microwave oven.

It is appropriate to note tat the entire production process of the frozen packaged agricultural food product according to the invention has a reduced environmental impact.

Since it is not possible to renounce the use of given active ingredients, their use rigidly regulated by a selective and repeatable protocol, as provided by the agronomic method described above, in fact allows to protect the harvests and obtain an agricultural product in which the residues are lower than the predefined threshold of 0.01 mg/kg, i.e., a safe product without compromising the harvest yield.

Such method, moreover, allows to have lower residues in the environment (air, water table and soils) and accordingly also on the health of human beings and of animals that are in continuous contact with such environment.

Moreover, the waste from the thermo-mechanical treatment of the vegetables and/or mushrooms, after their harvesting, instead of being introduced in the environment, is sent to a fermentation tank of the biogas production unit, where it is converted into digestate, which is used as fertilizer on the respective cultivation soil in a new step of cultivation of vegetable products.

Moreover, the container is constituted at least partially by recyclable and compostable materials, further reducing its environmental impact.

Advantageously, the frozen packaged agricultural food product features a production and utilization that have a reduced environmental impact.

Conveniently, the frozen packaged agricultural food product is obtained by using an agro-industrial process with minimal environmental impact, suitable to minimize industrial waste.

Effectively, the frozen packaged agricultural food product has a packaging that is recyclable and has a reduced environmental impact.

The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims; all the details may further be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

In the examples of embodiment shown, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other examples of embodiment.

In practice, the materials used, as well as the dimensions, may be any according to requirements and to the state of the art.