PepInER is a research project coordinated by Open Fields and funded by Regione Emilia Romagna through the “misura 124 – development of new products, processes and technologies”. PepInER aims at creating a chilli pepper value chain in Emilia Romagna (Northern Italy) to provide the food industry with a high quality ingredient and guarantee complete traceability.
Most of the chili pepper used as ingredient in sauces and cold cuts comes from Asia due to competitive costs and large market availability. Nevertheless, in the last decade the import of chili pepper into the European Union has been the subject of numerous alerts (see notifications through the Rapid Alert System For Food and Feed RASFF). Only one week ago (2/08/2012) Great Britain rejected a batch of Indian crushed chili contaminated with aflatoxins.
In July 2011 Open Fields started working on the development of an Italian, highly technological production chain for chili pepper. It is now the second year of experimental work and many results have been obtained: selection of varieties suitable for a technological chain; definition of a cultivation protocol; optimization of the different cultivation and transformation stages; know-how diffusion; characterization of the cultivated chili peppers in terms of hotness (piquancy), functional compounds and aromatic profile; absence of mycotoxin contamination; development of a line of products RED of Parma® at different piquancy dedicated to the food industry and retail.