Putting the Squeeze on Food Safety

Putting the Squeeze on Food Safety



according to the Centers for Disease Control 5,000 people die every year from foodborne illness and in 2007 food safety was a hot issue on Capitol Hill for the sake of consumers what can be done differently to improve food safety even as concerns over food safety have grown so has the demand for more natural less processed foods USDA numbers show that for over a decade there has been a double-digit growth in consumer demand for organic produce the food industry is all about giving people what they want in some case its its high quality minimally prepared foods that taste as close as possible to something you would prepare naturally that's the niche market that this technology seems to be most applicable to Pat adams is CEO of a viewer technologies a company best known for making high pressure presses that produce industrial diamonds and metal alloys for knee replacements and jet engines high pressure technology that can now be used to preserve certain kinds of food the ability to kill bacteria disease-causing bacteria parasites was recognized over a century ago unfortunately the ability to build machinery that could deliver those pressures has only happened in the last decade decade and a half the idea that pressure could be used to kill harmful organisms in milk and other foods was developed by Professor Bert hight at the West Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in the late 1800s while professor heights experiments held some promise the equipment even under lab conditions often failed it has taken nearly a century for the technology to advance we're pressures of over 80,000 pounds per square inch can be safely achieved in a production line almost every day that we use this technology we find us something new something different something exciting not exciting in just in killing microorganisms anymore we can we could really make foods taste better Erol Raghubir is a researcher at of your technologies a viewer only makes the machines that are capable of high pressure processing and is not in the business of processing food the company does however run a test kitchen and has found that some foods do better under pressure than others well product it doesn't work as a marshmallow this is after high pressure and this is before we just squeezed all the air out of it 86 thousand pounds of pressure per square inch which is roughly equal to 3/5 ton elephants balanced on a dime flattens a marshmallow but has no effect on a grape you can see it's almost a hundred percent of water and if you compare it with a grape that has not been processed really there is no difference what keeps the grape from being crushed is the fact that it is mostly water and that the pressure is applied evenly from all directions some of the products you have in the market now that are not using any other new technology such as high pressure or whatever else is out there if you take a look at the labels they are very very high levels of preservatives inside in order to give them that shelf-life here we are using a natural method the high pressure processing in order to get that shelf-life and tremendously long we'll also than what you would get the time with just adding preservatives and salts in base enter Washington the goose Point Oyster Company is using high pressure processing or HPP to take the risk out of eating raw oysters the process which is similar to any food that is processed using high pressure involves loading oysters into a canister filling the canister with water then pressurizing the contents the water applies pressure evenly to whatever else is in the canister 43,000 pounds of pressure for 90 seconds kills any potentially deadly pathogens Jerry joy is the director of marketing at Goose Point oysters for oysters it gives us an extended shelf life 17 days fresh in the shell we don't see that on you know live oysters in the shell and I think if you put the two side-by-side you would really really have to be a connoisseur to tell the difference between a fresh live oyster and an oyster that's gone through the high-pressure process juices sauces and sandwich meats are some of the other products currently using high pressure processing in Milwaukee Wisconsin the American pasteurization company does not produce a product but instead offers high pressure processing as a service to Packers and producers Justin Siegel is co-owner of APC as great as the technology is for shelf life and food safety etc you still have to make enough money to stay in business and we think we offer an economic benefit of allowing our customers utilizes equipment and this technology without the enormous cost of having to do it themselves according to Segal high-pressure processing is more expensive but has advantages over traditional processing that can give it an economic advantage high pressure processing means there is no need to use heat or add chemical preservatives food can be processed after it is already packaged and the process actually extends shelf life which means grocers see less spoilage I think we're raising the bar I think the technology raises the bar at Oregon State University researchers experimenting on milk have found that using high pressure processing in combination with heat could yield even more benefits than just using pressure we didn't expect it to happen but what we discovered was that when you use pressure combined with heat pressure actually inhibits the damage that he'd normally does if a heat milk by itself I damage it but if I combine pressure of heat the the heat damage is removed by pressure that's a very unique situation currently heat pasteurization gives milk a shelf life of 15 to 20 days in the experiments at Oregon State adding pressure and using temperatures lower than are presently used to pasteurized milk the shelf life exceeded 45 days according to Torres using high pressure processing and higher temperatures could lead to milk that would not require refrigeration and have a taste that consumers would find acceptable it would seem that a product with no preservatives and longer shelf-life would be highly promoted but finding high pressure processed products that are already in grocery stores isn't easy Justin Siegel believes that as awareness in the process grows consumers not only will look for HPP products but will ask for them I don't want to use a term a silver bullet but there's a technology out there that is not a radiating things that's not better living through chemistry it's it's just the physics of putting something under pressure and then decompressing it for market to market I'm Jeannie Campbell you

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