Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) has revealed its development of a patent-pending, high-pressure indicator “ink” applied to a food package that supports the industry with a visual inspection showing that High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) has been applied to the food product(s). The launch by CTI is a first for the inks and food industries worldwide.
Also known as High Pressure Processing, HPP treatment is used within the food and beverage industries. The HPP machines are specially designed to inactivate pathogenic bacteria and thereby extend shelf-life. Conventional “pasteurization” uses high temperatures, which degrade the taste and nutritional value of foods and beverages.
One of HPP’s great advantages is that the product subjected to HPP looks identical to products that have not undergone HPP treatment. This is also one of its great weaknesses: it is impossible to know by visual inspection, whether or not a product has been HPP-treated. This creates a tremendous challenge for everyone in the supply-chain. CTI has developed a technology to address this challenge.
HPP is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). HPP eliminates bacteria through high-pressure, and can be used for both organic as well as natural foods. Additionally, HPP can be conducted at refrigerated temperatures. As such, HPP does not alter heat-sensitive foods such as meats, fruits and vegetables. While the benefits of HPP have a lengthy history, modern advances have shown that, in addition to the health benefits, the HPP process allows a product to be shipped/stored refrigerated rather than frozen, providing considerable economic and time savings. The CTI technology for HPP is also applicable to pharmaceutical products.
The immediate demand that CTI is fulfilling is from food service companies who are receiving shipments of HPP foods such as meat, seafood, cheese, juice and vegetables and need to give their restaurants or grocery stores a quick visual indicator on whether they should accept delivery of food products.
Patrick Edson, chief marketing officer of CTI explained, “If you’re the Vice President of Food Safety at a large restaurant or grocery franchise with a national supply chain, you are managing a significant risk profile of millions of units of food packaging being delivered to your business under the assumption it has been processed through HPP.
“Customers tell us, ‘We only need one package to bypass the HPP machine and show up at a restaurant, and we have a huge problem. A quick visual inspection at our restaurants to see that the food has been subjected to high pressure mitigates substantial risk,’” Edson added. “It also provides regulatory agencies with the ability to confirm that the foods have undergone HPP.”
What Happens During HPP?
The filled package destined for the customer is placed within a totally sealed machine where pure, cold water is applied to the exterior of the finished package. Pathogens are rendered inactive without the use of chemicals, heat or additives. The HPP process itself can include up to 80,000 psi (pounds per square inch) for a few seconds or minutes upon the flexible or water-resistant packages.
What Does CTI’s HPP Verification Technology Achieve?
CTI’s patent-pending HPP-indicator technology is delivered via an ink that can be printed on the exterior of most packages for the marketplace. The ink is clear when printed and then increases in color as it’s exposed to the very high isostatic pressures found in the HPP process. The first generation of technology can differentiate between pressure exposure <20,000 psi, 20,000 psi, 30,000 psi and >40,000 psi, according to Edson.
The CTI technology is applied like all conventional inks in packaging, and is currently available in water-based and ultraviolet (UV) cured inks. Solvent-based inks will be available in the future if the demand justifies the development expense.
Combatting the ‘Bad Actors’
CTI’s new ink technology for HPP also contains anti-counterfeiting features to ensure a dishonest person hasn’t just simply printed an ink on their packaging claiming an HPP indicator. CTI’s new process provides an easy visual confirmation of successful HPP.
CTI’s offering of HPP Verification Technology is now available for sale.
To learn more about HPP technology, please visit www.americanpasteurizationcompany.com