Food Safety and Quality in Europe

Technical Training Workshop tour (TTWT)

The 1st PROMISE Technical Training Workshop took place in Burgos / Spain.

To optimise the impact of the performed rewsearch, the results (and the methodologies) are transferred via a series of specialised 2 day workshops.

The first Workshop took place in Burgos / Spain on 19th and 20th of November 2012.

Agenda: Classical methods in microbiology

1.    History of Microbiology

2.    Microbial Pathogens in the Food Chain

3.    ISO Standards for the Detection of Zoonotic Agents in Food Stuffs

4.    Differentiation of Pathogens on Agar Plates

5.    Classical Sample Treatments and Trouble Shooting

6.    Innovative Sample Preparation

7.    Quantification of Pathogens and Spoilage Microorganisms

Video Workshop Burgos

2nd Technical Training Workshop Dublin, Ireland

Agenda: Novel sequencing technologies and phylogenetics

1.    Novel sequencing technologies and phylogenetics Introduction

2.    Next Gen sequencing technologies

3.    Names in Microbiology

4.    Molecular Subtyping of Zoonotic Agent

5.    Basics in microbial community analysis: methods and software

6.    From sequence to phylogeny: We create a phylogenetic tree

3rd Technical Training Workshop Hydra, Greece

Agenda: Mathematical modelling for food safety

1.    Introduction - Why model? (Organization, Interpretation and Discovery)
Interactive illustration - “Should we sell?”

2.    Concepts - Determinism and Stochasticity (Chance and Uncertainty)
Interactive illustration -  “Fooled by randomness”

3.    Concepts – Probability distribution (Variables, Probability density)
Interactive illustration  – “How tall are you?”

4.    Details – Familiar distributions (Modelling prevalence, Taking a sample)
Interactive exercise – “Is the sample big enough?”

5.    Details – Familiar analyses (Odds, Risks and Risk Factors)
Interactive exercise – “Is it dangerous”

6.    Modelling microbial growth – Predictive Microbiology

7.    Implementation – Tools for food safety modelling

8.    Implementation – Building distributions (Excel and Random Numbers) Interactive exercise – “Monte Carlo or bust!”

9.    Implementation – Putting distributions together (Risk modelling)
Interactive exercise – “The devil is in the tail”

10.    Summary

The third PROMISE On Tour Technical Training Workshop was held in a historic Museum on the idylic Greek Island of Hydra. The surroundings included crystal clear mediteranean water, fantastic yatchs, a warship, lots of sunshine and a visit from a major cleric of the Greek church. To begin the workshop Euclid and Richard Feynman introduced the important ideas and the methodology of mathematical modelling and then Drs Barker and Skandamis were left to fill in the minor details. In the first session the collective intelligence of the whole workshop was harnessed to decide when to sell an imaginary box of imaginary black and white markers to maximize an imaginary profit; and the project coordinator demonstrated that he could do a magic trick. The second session included elements central to PROMISE activity – prevalence, predictive modelling and a speed boat trip to a secluded beach. On the second day everyone discovered where the grave accent is placed on their computer keyboard and set off on their first journey to Monte Carlo. Most participants made it the whole way, exlplored new paths and short cuts, and discovered why risk and Monte Carlo are closely related. Reassuringly the mystery and apprehension associated with mathematical models seemed to disappear for many and for some the magic provided by an answer had a hypnotic effect.

Many who participated in PROMISE TTWT3 will probably return to the fantastic relaxing island of Hydra – hopefully many will also be more relaxed about mathematical modelling and may also be happy to return to Monte Carlo or find new mathematical places to explore.
(by Gary Barker)