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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #238330

Title: Electrotechnologies to process foods

item Zhang, Howard

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2009
Publication Date: 4/27/2009
Citation: Zhang, H.Q. 2009. Electrotechnologies to process foods. In: Proceedings of 2009 Food Safety Summit - New and Innovative Technologies for Food Safety, April 27, 2009, Washington, DC. p. 2-13.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Electrical energy is being used to process foods. In conventional food processing plants, electricity drives mechanical devices and controls the degree of process. In recent years, several processing technologies are being developed to process foods directly with electricity. Electrotechnologies use electricity to directly process food. Using dielectric properties of water and ionic conduction of foods we may apply microwave, radio frequency, or alternating current to heat up the food for preservation purposes. These processes include microwave heating, radio frequency heating, ohmic hearing, and induction heating. These electro-heating processes constitute the bulk of advanced thermal processing where one wishes to have a rapid heating process. On the other hand, Electrotechnologies may be designed to have minimum heating effect while generating the lethal treatment to microorganisms for preservation purposes. Pulsed electric field (PEF) process and radio frequency electric field (RFEF) process are examples where strong electric fields are applied to foods to cause microbial inactivation but not long enough to cause a thermal degradation to the food quality. Laboratory, pilot plant and processing scale evaluations have demonstrated the feasibility of PEF as a commercial nonthermal pasteurization process for many fruit juices and beverages. Comparing to thermal process, PEF can maintain the activity of beneficial ingredients in foods while achieve the 5 log reduction required. The development of electrotechnologies will continue to lead to the production of safe and convenient foods.