August 1, 2005
High-pressure processing systems from Avure Technologies Inc. ensure higher-quality, safer products.
Avure Technologies Inc. (ATI), Kent, WA, is the oldest and largest supplier of commercial high-pressure processing systems in the world and provides large-scale, high-pressure processing (HPP) systems to the food, aerospace, automotive, medical, and advanced materials industries.
“We have installed and supported high-pressure equipment for more than fifty years in virtually every region of the world,” says ATI President Pat Adams.
Avure’s HPP systems are being used by many processors for refrigerated food products that are minimally processed and utilize fewer additives to both preserve the natural flavors and increase the safety and shelf life. The ready-to-eat (RTE) industry utilizes HPP as the most effective treatment to reduce Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in sliced, diced, and cut products, Adams says.
“HPP provides a uniform treatment to reduce pathogens and spoilage organisms with minimal impact on flavor, color, nutrients, or mouthfeel in these products,” he adds. “The technology is being utilized to produce ready meals in which the vegetables and meats are all HPP-treated to improve quality, shelf life, and safety.”
Avure’s HPP treatment is a post-packaging lethality step that can eliminate Lm and most other pathogens. The process is independent of mass so regardless if products are large or small, sliced or whole-muscle, HPP is a suitable process for almost any RTE meat, Adams relays.
“HPP enables producers to provide the consumer with the more natural, higher-quality products that are increasingly in demand today,” he adds. “HPP reduced the dependency on chemical additives, a trait that is desired by most consumers. And HPP is the only food-preservation technology that can be actively marketed by food producers to their customers, as it fulfills the wholesome, natural treatment that today’s consumers demand.”
A better way
The food-safety benefit of HPP is a consequence of the process, not necessarily the principle objective for many processors. The ability to produce better-tasting RTE meats with a longer preservation of the quality is the most common justification for implementing this technology, Adams says.
“HPP processors have also demonstrated that they can meet the Cook in Bag pathogen-reduction requirements and thereby potentially exempt their products from the high-risk Lm category,” he adds. “HPP works synergistically with most antimicrobials, allowing Alternative 1 compliance with very little antimicrobial required.”
Avure’s HPP systems operate in either horizontal or vertical orientation, allowing processors to fit the systems into existing and new plants. Avure’s new 358L is designed for large-volume producers. It is easy to install and processes more pounds per hour than any other HPP system, Adams says. Multiple units are linked via a SCADA system to allow maximum flexibility of control and integration. The system is also compatible with multiple material-handling configurations, and it communicates directly with most producers’ information networks.
Regulatory agencies are following a similar path to what previously occurred in the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries, Adams says.
“They are requiring tighter control of the products’ bio-burden through facility and environmental controls and ultimately will move to a post-packaging lethality step as the final assurance for food safety,” he adds. “Post-packaging processing eliminates numerous concerns about individual products and provides uniform methods to control biological risk. With the increasing demand for wider variety of foods, global distribution is facilitated by the ability to develop and enforce post-packaging lethality steps. Consumers want convenience, variety, and natural products with minimal additives or processing. HPP is an enabling technology to deliver on this desire.”
Avure operates in-house labs, and it has experience with hundreds of products, enabling Avure to assist processors in optimizing the formulations, processing conditions, and packaging. HPP at reduced pressures is also being studied as a method to enhance marination and tenderness of ready-to-cook meats. NP
Avure Technologies Inc., phone (800) 446-3569, or visit www.avure.com