Cornell gets state grant to acquire high-pressure food processing equipment

Sept. 21, 2015

The Hiperbaric 55 uses pressures over 80,000 psi to eliminate pathogens in a quick treatment that takes just two to three minutes.

New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio has announced $600,000 in funding for new food processing technology at Cornell University that is expected to help revolutionize the food processing industry.

This grant enables the university’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., to purchase and install a state-of-the-art Hiperbaric 55 High Pressure Processing machine.

Unlike traditional food processing methods which rely on high temperatures to kill foodborne pathogens like Listeria, E. coli and Salmonella, the Hiperbaric 55 uses pressures over 80,000 psi to eliminate pathogens in a quick treatment that takes just two to three minutes.

Foods are treated inside their final packaging, eliminating the risk of contamination during packaging.

The new equipment will allow the Experiment Station to provide food safety certification for new products, as U.S. food safety rules require the process be tested prior to manufacturing each product. Geneva will become the technology’s validation site for the entire country, the university said.

According to professor of food science Randy Worobo, the Experiment Station will aid companies by establishing “microbial safe harbors” — the safe processing parameters for amount of pressure, length of treatment, the specific food and the type of packaging.

Commenting on the benefits of the high-pressure processing equipment, Worobo said: “Producers like it because there is no quality degradation through heat or cooking, and it retains much of the fresh character and nutrition with a significantly longer shelf life.

“It’s rapidly being adopted across the industry for a range of refrigerated products and ready-to-eat foods, including deli meats, cheese, seafood, dips, salsas and fresh juices.”

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