The €1.3m National Cheese Research Programme 2015 will harness food science expertise from both sides of the border to ensure the island of Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the post-milk quota era.
The project will be coordinated by Teagasc, which believes that an integrated approach to the challenges in cheese research are critical for the future development of this food industry.
The participating research teams that constitute the ICRC include: Teagasc Food Research Programme Moorepark and Ashtown, University College Cork, University of Limerick, University College Dublin and Agri-Food BioSciences Institute (AFBI, Northern Ireland).
The project will be guided throughout its four-year duration through market intelligence and consumer interaction. Stakeholder representation includes cheese manufacturers, participating research institutions, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and a representative for the Food Institution Research Measure and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The research programme will be accomplished by means of six tasks. Three tasks on the scientific and health aspects of natural cheeses, along with a task on processed cheese, will be informed by the outcomes of consumer studies.
A separate task, involving Teagasc and AFBI, sets out to develop a rapid assay for trans fatty acids (TFA), which should also be capable of differentiating between naturally-occurring TFA in milk fat (healthy form) and those originating from the hydrogenation of vegetable oils.