Each year, one person in six gets sick from something they ate. The concentration of food distribution points means that illness is easily spread to large numbers of the population. Continuing outbreaks of food-borne pathogens make it imperative to look at various means for safeguarding our food supply & insuring healthy, nutritious and tasty fare end up on store shelves, restaurants and all food outlets.
With fresh vs. frozen less than 20% in the U.S. and the reverse in Europe, food marketers are looking for ways to get the “shelf” (as in “shelf life”) that retailers need to embrace non-frozen prepared meals.
Companies like Gourmet Boutique have extended shelf to 21 days, but with no returns or credits allowed for spoilage, large chains are resisting the fresh-prepared category, demanding 60-day “shelf” that few vendors can yet provide. One solution has been to deliver products frozen that are then “slacked out” (thawed), a process that destroys the texture of many foods. Now, you might ask why any sane consumer would buy a fresh meal or side with an expiry date two months out, but in the case of the “slacked” frozen foods, the date stamp is started once the food is thawed. Still, the challenge for the retailer is how to overcome the time lost in shipping, storage, distribution and sale.
It is also known by the names Pascalization (after Blaise Pascal, the 17th Century thinker who wrote about pressure in liquids), and bridgmanization after Percy Bridgman, who received a Nobel Prize for his work on the physics of high pressure.
HPP facilities are expensive ($500,000-$2.5MM), but the process eliminates the loss of flavor and freshness associated with conventional high heat pasteurization (though some foods require heat to kill certain microbes).
HPP works best with foods high in acidity, and so far has been used primarily on cooked ready-to-eat meats, guacamole, tomato-based salsa, applesauce, orange juice, and oysters. Cargill has recently developed a process for ground beef using HPP which doubles shelf life from 21 to 42 days, and doesn’t reduce the beef to mush or lighten it to the point it looks like ground veal.
Quebec food manufacturer Natur+l XTD has not only added HPP equipment to its site, but is using a special 2D barcode on the product’s label that will allow shoppers to access information about the process with their cell phones. Not surprisingly, Chinese equipment manufacturers are investing in HPP technology, both for domestic use and export.
Come back tomorrow to find out about Irradiated Foods
 Source: Vital Signs, a paper from the Centers for Disease Control.
 The process is also known as high pressure processing, pascalization (named for Louis Pasteur), bridgmanization (named for Percy Williams Bridgman, 1946 Nobel Laureate for work in high pressure physics) high hydrostatic pressure processing (HHP), ultra high-pressure processing (UHP) and cold pasteurization.
 87,000 pounds per square inch.