High-pressure food processing to provide increased safety and quality

Under the joint leadership of Dr. C. PatrickDunne of the Department of Defense CombatFeeding Directorate, U.S. Army Natick SoldierCenter and Dr. Edmund Ting, AvureTechnologies, Inc. of Kent, Washington,partnerships have been forged to foster thedevelopment and industrial application of HighPressure Processing (HPP), a revolutionaryprocess in food preservation technology. HPP isbeing developed to meet the joint demands ofthe military for expanding variety and improvingthe quality of combat rations and for civiliansector conveniencefoods containing wholemuscle meats and otherthermally sensitiveitems, such as eggs,potato and pastaproducts. Since 2001,a number of HPP foodshave begun to appearin the marketplace as adirect result oftechnology transferbetween the Army andAvure.The use of highhydrostatic pressure has proven to be a veryeffective means of controlling the activity ofboth spoilage and disease-causingmicroorganisms in refrigerated food items.High-pressure processed foods meet today’sconsumer demands for minimally processed,additive-free foods with fresh-likecharacteristics while providing the ultimate in safety. The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center andAvure Technologies have formed aconsortium involving major food producersto build a base for HPP technology. Thisconsortium was formed under the auspicesof the Army’s Dual Use Science andTechnology (DUST) program. An approvedhigh pressure-assisted sterilization process isexpected to be approved by regulatoryagencies within one year.Although the use of high pressures topreserve food was first explored in the1890s, it took a dedicated multidisciplinaryteam led bygovernment andindustrialscientists andengineers tomake the promiseof thisrevolutionaryprocess acommercialreality. Theprocess has beencalled the biggestinnovation infood processing since Clarence Birdseyedeveloped frozen foods in the 1920s; as aresult, Avure Technologies was awarded theInstitute of Food Technologists’ industrialinnovation award in 2002.
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