Public Release: 

Alternative Food Processing Methods May Become Mainstream

Institute of Food Technologists

CHICAGO -- Is it possible to inactivate foodborne pathogens with high pressure and ultraviolet light? Yes, say food scientists, who will explain alternative food processing technologies and their potential commercial uses at IFT's 1999 Annual Meeting.

"Intervention Strategies to Improve the Safety of Fruits and Vegetables" (Symposium 29, July 26, 9 AM) will present the U.S. Department of Agriculture's and Food and Drug Administration's new approach to addressing fresh produce safety, which is based on "microbiological performance criteria" or degree of risk reduction instead of the mandated use of a specific technology. Current good manufacturing practices, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, and alternative processing technologies will be discussed as ways to establish risk reduction. Technologies such as irradiation, high pressure, ultraviolet light, and ozone may enhance the safety of fresh produce while maintaining its freshness.

Alternative technologies for a variety of foods will be examined in "Non-Thermal Food Preservation: From Concept to Market" (Symposium 30, July 26, 9 AM). The benefits and limitations of non-thermal technologies, including pulsed electric fields, high pressure, pulsed light, filtration, and ultraviolet light, will be covered. Better retention of food flavors and essential nutrients is a major advantage of these technologies; however, they cannot be applied to all kinds of foods. Methods for determining the effectiveness of non-thermal technologies in controlling microorganisms and microbial performance criteria will be discussed.

"Safety Strategies for Meal Solutions" (Symposium 73, July 27, 1:30 PM) will look at ways to ensure the safety of minimally processed refrigerated foods, such as fresh-cut produce, ready-to-eat meals, deli items, and lunch meats. The discussion will cover microbial control strategies involving strict protocols set by producers, meal component selection, and food handling, processing, and packaging.

"Regulatory Issues with Ozone Use in Food Processing" (Roundtable 71, July 27, 1:30 PM) will address the safety, environmental, and regulatory issues associated with the use of ozone in food processing and industrial wastewater.

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