Scientific projects

Research and development

In the Food Control Group, we are engaged in several research activities with the aim of finding solutions for various problems in the food chain. The principle of our enterprise group’s activity consists in the approach of the problems by scientific attitude and methodology. In the course of our activities we collect great amount of data, which we endeavour to use in answering various scientific issues. Several members of our team have PhD degree, some members are PhD students, and we are in connection with universities and research institutes, e.g. the Management and Business Administration PhD School of Szent István University, University of Veterinary Medicine – Department of Food Hygiene, Bay Zoltán Non-profit Ltd for Applied Research are to be mentioned.

Our research projects are presented here:

Development of ready-made products for the catering industry with the support of a microbiological control system

The R+D project entitled “Development of ready-made products for the catering industry with the support of a microbiological control system” will be realized with the support by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund with financing within the program “Supporting the innovation activity of micro and small enterprises” (2018-1.1.1-MKI). The project launched in the first half of 2019, obtained a support of HUF 69.7 million, and the professional work is expected to close in March 2021. In this R+D project, several new, high value-added convenience products will be developed, and their food safety risks will be determined.

Food waste in contract catering

The principal aim of the project is to analyse the public catering system in order to reach “zero waste” system characteristics. The investigations are focused on pupils aged 6-18 participating in school catering. In the frame of the project possible reasons will be revealed – based on life cycle analysis – why foods turn into wastes, critical points will be identified, and by this means weak points of the system will be improved. Further aim of the project is to inform children participating in catering, since developing the culture of eating is one of the most important issues. The thorough information related to the consumed foods is of distinguished significance, since also this will essentially determine later our consumption decisions. One of the aims of the project is to investigate the role and importance of food wastes – from the aspects of “Circular Economy”.

Development of rapid microbiological control systems and their introduction into the catering industry

Controlling food-safety risks is a more and more determinant task in the conscious quality management systems of the catering enterprises. In our project, an existing quality control procedure will be developed for the assessment of food safety risks. The procedure consists in a rapid microbiological quality control method, which allows interaction into the tasks of warehousing, storing and distributing in the course of circulation. Our development is focused on the realization of the KAPSURE instrument. Our aim is to ensure the automatization of microbiological investigations, to make the investigations independent of the laboratory environment, in order to reach rapid, cheap and locally applicable tests. Using the method, food safety can be increased, constant quality can be ensured, and owing to the rapid intervention, the amount of food waste can be reduced. Using KAPSURE, the hygienic problems can be more rapidly and objectively indicated, and it can significantly help in the decision making of the management and in the maintenance of food safety and quality. Further information on the project can be found here.

Management of dietary cooking in contract catering sector

The number of consumers who require special meals shows a more and more increasing tendency in Hungary. It is not to be perceived only as a fashionable peculiarity, since certain components of foods cause harmful side-effects for many. Allergic ingredients can cause severe reactions, which can be even endangering to life, therefore, careful handling of these foods is indispensable. Food allergy and intolerance affect more and more people already in childhood, therefore, taking into consideration this fact, strict diet is to be provided in the everyday life for those concerned in order to safeguard their health. Providing dietary meals is obligatory in school catering, provided the applicant has a medical certificate. Therefore, it is indispensable to survey the knowledge of workers in catering kitchens, to provide teaching and extension training for them on the criteria, requirements, news in dietary catering. In our research, we will investigate how to increase the performance (efficacy, rentability, safety) of the dietary cooking in the catering industry and, furthermore, our intention is to build a complex system for the management of food allergies.

Plant proteins taking the role of meats

Nowadays it is commonly accepted that reduction of meat consumption and consumption of plant-based nutriments may significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. In order to reach the above-mentioned aims, it is necessary either to change the eating habits or to reduce or to substitute the meat content of our meals. In our research we will investigate how meat products can be replaced by plant proteins. When we intend to substitute assortments of meats, one of the principal aims is to ensure appropriate protein intake, while the other main aspect is to maintain the appropriate taste and consumer’s experience. For producing meat substitutes of plant origin, chiefly cereals and legumes are used. The main basic material in the production of meat alternatives is some plant protein. Characteristics of proteins depend on the type of the protein (chemical composition, amino acid sequence, secondary or higher structure), furthermore, on the environmental factors, like pH, temperature, ionic strength, etc. Owing to these facts several methods can be available for producing meat substitutes from plant protein. The aim of our research and development activity is to elaborate processes with the combination of in the catering industry widely used kitchen technological processes (steaming, cooking, sous vide, frying) by which meat substitutes of excellent quality can be produced in appropriate amount and quality.

Regulations in contract catering sector, exploration of deficiencies

The aim of the regulations related to the institutional catering is to serve appropriate and safe food for all age-groups. However, the regulation can only achieve what will be served for the consumer, and it will be the consumer’s decision how much he/she will eat from it. Thus, the regulation can only be efficient if consumers eat the meal served for them. In our research we intend to find the factors which have an influence on different target groups, whether they will eat the meal served for them.

Selected publications

Dunay, A., Kovács, A., Illés, B. C. Tóth, A. J., Bittsánszky, A. (2019). Food allergy and food intolerance knowledge of foodservice workers in Hungarian schools Potravinarstvo 13:1 318-324. [link]

Illés, B. C., Tóth, A. J., Dunay, A., Lehota, J. & Bittsánszky, A. (2018). Evaluation of food safety knowledge and microbial status of food contact surfaces in schools. Journal of Food Safety,  e12480. [link]

Tóth, A. J., Szakmár, K., Dunay, A., Illés, B. C. & Bittsánszky, A. (2018). Hygiene assessments of school kitchens based on the microbiological status of served food. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria, 17(2), 159–168. [link]

Tóth, A. J., Koller, Z., Illés, B. C., Bittsánszky, A. (2017). Development of conscious food handling in Hungarian school cafeterias. Food Control 73 Part B, 644-649. [link]

Túróczi, Z., Bittsánszky, A., Fülöp, L., Dunay, A., Tóth, A. J. (2015). Examination of plate waste in school catering. In A. Dunay (Ed.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Management 2015: Management, Leadership and Strategy for SMEs’ Competitiveness. (p. 497). Gödöllő: Szent István University Publishing House. [link]

Bittsánszky, A., Tóth, A. J., Illés, B. C., Dunay, A. (2015). Knowledge and practice in food safety processes – a case study on Hungarian school catering. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 18(3), 380–396. [link]

Dunay, A., Bittsánszky, A., Tóth, A. J., Illés, B. C. (2015). Minőség az iskolai étkeztetésben. Élelmiszer, Táplálkozás és Marketing, 11(1–2), 17–22.

Bittsánszky, A., Illés, B. C., Fülöp, L., Tóth, A. J. (2015). Surveying the hygienic conditions of canteens by means of surface microbiological analyses. In A. Dunay (Ed.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Management 2015: Management, Leadership and Strategy for SMEs’ Competitiveness. (p. 578). Gödöllő: Szent István University Publishing House. [link]

Tóth, A. J., Bittsánszky, A. (2014). A comparison of hygiene standards of serving and cooking kitchens in schools in Hungary. Food Control, 46, 520–524. [link]

Tóth, A., Bittsánszky, A., Illés, B. C., Dunay, A. (2014). Improving knowledge, technology and food safety in school catering system in hungary. In V. Dermol, M. Smrkolj, & G. Ðaković (Eds.), Human