Dr Mike North’s background is in meat industry research. During his tenure at AgResearch, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, Mike led the Agri-Foods Section covering food research across both the meat and dairy industries. He developed a deep understanding of food safety and meat quality; what it is, how it works, and how it reacts under different conditions. These understandings are paramount to TBE’s premium offerings through their Butler range.
As a scientist and engineer, Mike has in-depth knowledge of heat transfer. Heat transfer is critical to food quality & safety; heating develops flavour and texture in foods, and heating also destroys bacteria in raw ingredients.
During his time at AgResearch Mike worked on a large project focused on mathematical modelling of cooking processes. This knowledge helps Mike in his role at TBE.
“When you consider an export quality bone that’s being cooked in our process, it’s important to understand what is happening in the centre and at the surface of the bone. What temperature being achieved? For how long? And what is going on with the food chemistry and the food safety at all points? We can use this this knowledge to get the best extraction from the bone” says Dr Mike North.
Mike’s experience means he understands what’s happening at a molecular level; the food chemistry that occurs as products go through a process – what’s happening inside the food as it is made. And what equipment you need to make certain reactions occur resulting in a good outcome.
“It’s almost like trying to cook 1000 steaks all at once. It’s relatively easy to get one steak cooked perfectly when as a chef you can focus on that one steak. But to do it at scale is very difficult and complex…how do you ensure consistent quality when you’re one chef cooking 1000 steaks?
“The mathematical models I have worked on are able to help food process engineers to predict internal temperatures to calculate temperature and time for many different items being cooked/cooled. This type of knowledge is critical to ensuring our products are safe-to-eat, and also that we have consistent quality results across the Butler Range,” says Mike.
It’s not just the cooking process that is important. TBE adheres to a HACCP (Hazard Analysis + Critical Control Points) plan, which is a food science approach to ensuring that all possible food safety hazards are considered and managed.
“Essentially that means we carry out a hazard analysis on every ingredient and on each step in the manufacturing process. Any steps that are critical to food safety are defined as ‘Critical Control Points’ and are given top priority in terms of how they are monitored and controlled.
“The knowledge and tools that we employ at TBE helps us to ensure the Butler Range of ingredients is safe and consistently high quality” says Dr Mike North.