How to increase food safety while increasing profits
As a food processing business, we must deal with the issue of food contamination. Ignoring it would mean biohazards, lost consumer confidence in our brand and thus decreased profits. Dealing with and preventing food contamination requires resources, training and checks on our regular processing of food. All this costs money. This white paper explores techniques that can reduce the chances of food contamination while having minimum impacts on our profits.
Food contamination leads to loss and this can be decreased using interventional technology.
Our White paper would be looking at how there are foods which are contaminated due to bacteria. We want to discuss nanotechnology and new innovative technology which from microfilm packaging to, antimicrobial packaging and various other solutions.
Food contamination refers to the presence of harmful substances, chemicals or microorganisms in the food, which can cause illness to the person who consumes it. There are four categories of food contamination: Biological, chemical, physical and cross contamination. Biological contamination occurs when bacteria or toxins contaminate the food and cause food poisoning and food spoilage. When harmful bacteria, also called pathogens, spread to food and that food if consumed, can cause food poisoning. Each year an estimated 48 million Americans are stricken ill as the result of one food borne pathogen or another.
Our company puts in all lot effort to prevent food contamination. We are already performing some techniques, like boiling, chilling, washing hands, washing equipments and floors and other sterilization techniques……
But food contamination is still an issue and it costs us lot of money to deal with it. So we present different techniques that can help us prevent food contamination in quicker and more efficient way. These techniques aim to maintain food quality, decrease food contamination and aim to be faster than current approaches.
“Food Safety and the Different Types of Food Contamination.” Australian Institute of Food Safety,www.foodsafety.com.au/resources/articles/food-safety-and-the-different-types-of-food-contamination. )
Food Preservation Technologies
There are thermal technologies which utilize heat to eliminate/reduce pathogens, and also to prolong shelf life. Microbes have a certain level of heat resistance and this is noted with D and z values. The D value refers to the the time it takes to eliminate 90 percent of the cells of a specific organism. On the other hand z value refers to the temperature required to cause the D value to change by 1 log cycle. This value gives insight into the heat resistance capacity of an organism. As an example some familiar D values would be 10 minutes at 60 Degrees Celsius for Salmonella, and 6-12 seconds for C.botulinum spores at 121 Degrees Celsius.
This process utilizes heat to kill pathogenic bacteria in food or liquids to ensure higher food safety. This process has been known to reduce the risk of diseases such as typhoid fever, polio, tuberculosis and dysentry. Milk juice and other packaged or non packaged food ae treated with heat of less than 100 degrees celsius (depending on product) which not only reduces pathogens but also increases shelf life of food. A plate heat exchanger, which utilizes metal plates for the heat transfer can be used for fluids that are pasteurized. In addition hot water, or even steam can be utilized directly or indirectly for pasteurization. Depending on pH level there are certain differences which occur. Food with pH less than 4.6 (beer or juice) the heat will inactivate certain enzymes ( polygalacturonase and methylesterase) and eliminate microbes such as yeast and lactobacillus. In foods which have a pH greater than 4.5 eggs, or milk the process will destroy yeast or molds. Sometimes milk will use ultra high temperature processing (UHT) which will pasteurize milk at 135 Degrees Celsius for 1-2 seconds. This provides the same benefit as regular pasteurization and also will prolong the shelf life.
Pascalization ( High Pressure Processing)-
This method utilizes high pressure to extend the shelf life and to sterilize food. The food product is placed inside a container which has a liquid (usually water) and pumps which will create the pressure. Pressure of more than 50,000 lbs/square inch hydrostatic pressure could be applied for approximately fifteen minutes. This process will inactivate microorganisms (yeast,bacteria, and mold) and also certain enzymes contained in the food. Despite the high pressure this does not destroy spores which can survive extreme conditions and would need further treatment with acid. Low pH levels kills pressure tolerant spores. This process works well for yogurts, jellies,jams,fruits, and foods which are acidic. In addition this process is also utilized for fish,rice cakes, and even meats. The pascalization process has the benefit of not changing the food taste since it is not heat based and no covalent bonds are destroyed. Since the intermolecular forces are retained, this also maintains the nutritional value and taste of the food. The proteins present in the food denature, and the non covalent bonds associations are affected. Despite these changes the process is regarded as a natural presevant since it does not utilize chemicals and does not significantly impact the nutritional value, taste and texture of the food.
Pulsed Electric Field Processing (PEF)
This method uses high voltage pulses instead of heat to inactivate the microbes. PEF will utilize voltage pulses from 10-60 kV. The short high voltage pulses lead to a disintegration of the membrane or creating pores which will affect membrane functionality. When there are small pores (50-100 nm each) created and the cell barrier functionality is lost in the membrane, it is called electroporation. When the membrane functionality is affected, it will essentially lead to microbial cell inactivation/death. This process occurs in a chamber where there are multiple electrodes present and can be applied to liquids or solids. The application time is approximately a second or less. There are about 100 high voltage pulses per second which allow for treatment for a large volume of substances. This process does not affect proteins, vitamins, or other properties which give the substance its taste. With this process you can reduce water and energy consumption and it can also reduce fat/oil absorption from frying oil. With this process, you can decontaminate the food and keep the nutritional and flavor of the treated substance the same. This process can be applied to fruits, potatoes, vegetables, and beverages.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
Modified Atmosphere Packaging is when gases or packaging which is made to control the gases which are present is used to prevent the deterioration of food. There are two different types of modified atmosphere packaging: passive and active. Active MAP is when packaging is replaced with a mixture of gases that would extend the shelf life. Passive MAP is when a certain type of film in conjunction with the food is utilized that leads to the production of certain atmosphere due to processes such as respiration and diffusion.
Some examples of MAP are:
Gas Flushing – when nitrogen gas is utilized to decrease the amount of oxygen present within the package. Oxygen reactivity leads to food spoilage and so it is displaced with nitrogen gas.
Packaging Films – this is when specific packaging films are utilized which will minimize the amount of oxygen and moisture that is present in the packaging. Some examples of the packaging that are used are: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride.
Desiccant Packs – Sometimes there is a desiccant pack which is included in the packaging that will contain a mixture of ascorbic acid and iron powder. In addition, sometimes these packages can contain activated carbon. The mixture of these substances absorb moisture and any oxygen present within the package.
Valves Packaging – there are times when packaging has one way valves that allow for gases to escape in one direction. This can allow oxygen to escape, but will prevent the introduction of external gases inside.
MAP is used on food such as: coffee, fruits, vegetables, snacks, pharmaceuticals, and even nutraceuticals. Since MAP focuses on the emission of oxygen, it protects the integrity, taste, and quality of the food while maintaining shelf life.
Ozone gas is a strong oxidant and is used as a disinfecting agent for the food industry. While there are other gases like chlorine, ozone is a better disinfecting agent for pathogen destruction. Utilizing ozone does not leave any harmful chemical byproducts and there is no chemical danger from this gas. An ozonation system will require a source of air or will take up gas from the atmosphere and will utilize electrodes to generate ozone. Ozone is then passed onto the treatment chamber where the product is treated for microbial inactivation
Ozone is utilized for washing fruits and vegetables. It is also utilized in meat, seafood, food storage, beverage production, and various other industries.
ionising irradiation (electron-beam or from a radioactive source)
Food irradiation is when food or food packaging is exposed to ionizing radiation to sterilize and extend the life of food products. The radiation can be emitted by a radioactive substance or you can utilize electricity to generate an electrical beam. An example of this is gamma irradiation, which can be produced from caesium-137 and cobalt-60 radioisotopes. The radioactive substance is placed in stainless steel tubes. These are placed inside a rack and submerged in water when they are not being utilized. During the irradiation process the food is on a conveyor belt and comes through the room where it is exposed to the radiation from the steel tubes. Through the steel tubes, the photons will pass through and irradiate the food.
Another process is electronic beam, where the electrons are concentrated and accelerated to produce a beam of energy. A conveyor belt brings the food product under the electronic beam and the food is irradiated with the beam. Food irradiation can be used on vegetables, meat, fruit, seafood, juices, and even spices. Food irradiation destroys microbes, invasive insects, and also slows down processes such as ripening. These changes lead to an extension of shelf life and prevents the deterioration of food at a rapid pace.
Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied. “Irradiated Food & Packaging – Food Irradiation: What You Need to Know”. www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
I am planning to include ultrasound technology, pulse light. You have already included high pressure technology. I too was about to add it.