Processing Magazine

High-pressure processing can reduce risk of food contamination, company claims

July 8, 2013
Harald Richter/iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Photo credit: Harald Richter/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

U.S.-based high-pressure processing solutions provider All Natural Freshness has announced the launch of its new buffering solution that could cut costs for food production and processing companies by offering increased contamination protection and eliminating the need for costly recalls almost entirely. The company has claimed that that high-pressure processing (HPP) can reduce the most harmful bacteria reaches up to 5-log reduction (equal to 99.999 percent) and can be applied on a wide range of food products.

As the industry develops at a rapid rate and regulators tighten requirements to reflect this evolution, the need for safety assurance remains a top priority for businesses and consumers. All Natural Freshness explained that over the past 12 months, thousands of pounds of food products have been recalled over concerns of salmonella, listeria and E.coli contamination. These bacteria are difficult to find by consumers because they do not cause the food product to go bad and cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. However, they are also the most common cause of food-borne illnesses in the United States, affecting 29,444 people in the past few years.

According to the company, HPP is a perfect solution to the bacteria problem because the technology is simple and cost-effective yet extremely efficient. The method involves applying ultra high pressure to reduce bacteria and microbes. The product is first submerged in water and after that is subjected to pressure. Under the intense pressure, the number of microbes is dramatically reduced. When combined with the latest developments in the food industry and its already high standards of safety, HPP can be the decisive last step to eradicate contamination, claimed Jon Jurhs, vice president of business development at All Natural Freshness.

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In addition to better safety, HPP also allows companies to reduce their use of preservatives, while at the same time it extends products' shelf life by retaining their taste, texture and color, the company said in a statement. According to All Natural Freshness, the technology can be applied to a wide variety of products, including wet salads, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fruit and vegetable juice, raw meat, ready-to-eat meat, shellfish, seafood, dairy products, beer and wine.

Apart from improving safety, the U.S. food industry also needs to focus on introducing better traceability on all levels of the food supply chain, Jurhs added. HPP can add extra benefits to food production, thanks to a complete cold chain integration that allows traceability on all levels. This could help manufacturers prove that their production is safe and prevent costly and potentially hazardous contamination events, he concluded.