McGill - CTAQ Network




McGill-CTAQ Network

The McGill - CTAQ Precompetitive Network on Shelf-Life Extension of Products and Ingredients is collation of multiple players from within the Québec food processing industry coming together for purpose of developing mutually beneficial solutions to pervasive problems. The network is managed by the faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences of McGill University.

The network relies on the expertise of all of it's partners, industrial and academic. The current partners of the network are:


McGill University


Agriculture and Agrifood Canada



Boulangerie St-Méthode



Université Laval

Caldwell Biofermentations




Diana Foods








Michel Saint-Arneault



A Pre-Competitive Network

What is a pre-competitive network?

Pre-competition allows for multiple competitors to come together to work on universal issues together. These projects allow for the industry to advance The McGill-CTAQ network brings together multiple partners from the Québec food processing industry, and the top research institutions within Québec.

Our precompetitive network is a public-private consortium for knowledge creation, collaboration model with restricted participation and restricted output. Our model allowed for the construction of multiple projects while reducing the financial commitment and risk to the participating companies. Food Science based projects rely on multiple domains for their completion. Our network brings together experts in engineer, food safety, sensory evaluation, microbiology and chemistry for the completion of these multifaceted projects.

How we function

The projects were developed through meetings between the industrial participants and the academic researchers. First the issues of industry were isolated through discussions with the researchers then developing solutions for those issues. The projects are undertaken by teams of researchers located at various institutions. These research teams meet often to coordinate the projects. Initial visits to the various industrial facilities by the research teams provided better insight to the issues faced by the companies. Once the projects were underway, one-day meetings were held on May 31st and November 21st for an update on the results. These meetings allow for a revaluation of priorities and keeps the research inline with the realities of industry. Alternatively, the industrial representatives experience the realities of the research which results in a better understanding of the work and the data.

Completed Activities

Activity 1 - Development of a mapping of natural ingredients

Natural ingredients were examined for their antioxidant and antimicrobial effect. By combining the principle components (quantified) of the natural ingredients with data found through experimental analysis, maps and predictive models were developed to target specific needs. The mapping is useful for determining complimentary interactive effects of the ingredients. The analysis of the data allowed for the developement of naturel/multi-ingredient formulations for food preservation specific to different food models. These formulations underwent sensory evaluations to determine their suitability for each food.

Activity 2 - Development of active packaging based on natural extracts and oils of a Canadian origin

The development of active antimicrobial packaging by integrating natural compounds and extracts derived from Canadian sources into material currently used by industry. This technology aimed to improve the quality and shelf-life of meat products, vegetables as well as packaged bakery products.

Activity 3 - Evaluation of the efficiency of gaseous ozone treatment for the shelf-life extension of specific food products

This project involved the development and optimization of ozone for the sanitation of fresh and frozen vegetables, chicken and sausage to improve food safety and to extend shelf-life. The influence of surface characteristics and humidity on the effectiveness of the treatment with ozone gas to control foodborne pathogens were evaluated. To confirm the suitability of ozone gas treatment on the select food products, various sensory and texture attributes were measured.

Activity 4 - Evaluation of the efficiency of pulsed light to reduce microbial contamination on fruits, vegetables and meat.

Optimized procedures were developed for the use of pulsed light against microbial contamination of fruits, vegetables and chicken. The project examined the effectiveness of pulsed light treatments on microbial load reduction, on enzymatic inactivation and antioxidant enrichment. This treatment was compared against standard chemical disinfection methods

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