Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2009
Publication Date: 4/8/2009
Citation: Zhang, H.Q. 2009. Nonthermal Processing Technologies as Food Safety Intervention Processes. In: Proceedings of the Conference of Food Engineering (COFE), April 5-8, 2009, Columbus, Ohio. p. 157. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Foods should provide sensorial satisfaction and nutrition to people. Yet, foodborne pathogens cause significant illness and lose of life to human kind every year. A processing intervention step may be necessary prior to the consumption to ensure the safety of foods. Nonthermal processing technologies carry the promise of better product quality while maintaining food safety compared to established thermal processes. Majority of nonthermal technologies are small scale and have yet to make significant impact to the safety of foods. Food irradiation and high pressure processing find commercial applications in solid foods, such as meat, sea foods, and spices. Pulsed electric fields and UV find their ways to the commercial marketplace through fruit juices and beverages. Dense phase carbon dioxide and Radio Frequency Electric Field processes also demonstrated potential for juice and beverages. Chemical processes in exploration include ozone, chlorine dioxide and cold plasma. Biological control using competitive exclusion principle is promising in sprout production yet facing regulatory challenge. Fresh and fresh-cut produce, on the other hand, still rely on chemical sanitizers to reduce microbial load even though irradiation of some fresh cut produce is recently approved. Combinational processes are thought when a single technology is either insufficient or too expensive. Engineering challenges exists in each nonthermal technology for scaling up to the production throughput normally found in food industry. Nonthermal processing technologies may bring fresh-like quality foods to consumers. These technologies need to be further developed for large industrial operation to contribute to the supply of safe foods.