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Fremont, CA: Food Processing has identified five cutting-edge technologies that all employ energy in unique ways to process food, such as heat, electricity, pressure, and vacuum, either separately or in combination. They kill bacteria, push out moisture, and perform other activities to preserve food, make it safer, and improve its flavor.
Spirajoule technology is a method of reducing or eliminating bacterial load in low-moisture powders and bulk solids. It treats items such as herbs, nuts, grains, seeds, powders, and bulk materials using an electrically heated auger conveyor in a confined area. While being transported, the product gets subjected to superheated steam, which completes the heating profile while imparting moisture.
Microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) offers the potential to provide shelf-stability to previously inconceivable items, such as whole-muscle beef and seafood.
MATS entails submerging a package in water and subjecting it to microwaves at 915 MHz, which causes an interior temperature of around 250 F. That heat creates steam and internal pressure, and the water around the package gets pressured to protect it from exploding or breaking its lid. MATS-treated items can be packaged in various plastic containers, both rigid and flexible, as long as there is no metal component.
Microwaves also get utilized in a cutting-edge technique known as radiant energy vacuum. REV entails removing moisture from food by subjecting it to microwaves while under suction. Moisture removal is consistent and may get tailored to each application.
High-pressure processing (HPP) eliminates germs inside sealed packaging without heat, prolonging the shelf life while retaining freshness.
HPP operates purely based on pressure, as the name indicates. Food is packed in watertight, flexible packaging and plunged in a tank of water at a pressure of 87,000 psi or more. It squeezes germs to death, but it does not deform or break the product - even complete parts such as sausage or deli meat slices because it gets applied on all sides.