Food safety is more important than ever considering that more people are buying ready to go food. Its primary purpose is to avoid contamination of food and also cross-contamination of food. Contaminated food can cause significant problems leaving a lot of people dead. In the previous years before technological interventions, the methods used to preserve foods were not standardized. This fact alone increased the risk of botulism hence increased global disease burden.
As the world’s technological know-how is booming, the food industry is also in check and moving steadily. There have been great sanitary innovations which are practiced in the food industry to improve food safety. Scientists study and experiment on these interventions before their application, and they include the following.
Hot intervention tech
Even though the use of thermal processing tech to inactivate microbial in or on food has been there for a long time, it has been improved over the years. Hot intervention tech comprises of heat and kill sterilization system which includes high temperature and short time pasteurization. It also implements ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing designed for liquid foods, and processing solid food through retorting or canning.
Ohmic heating is one of the advanced thermal processing methods. Ohmic heating involves passing electric current through food, and this will increase the temperature rapidly hence reduce or inactivate microbial. There are a lot of advantages engaged with this process like the fact that it is used for both cooking and sterilization process. Also, the fact that Ohmic heating can heat liquid products containing large particles both rapidly and uniformly make it the key advantage. Furthermore, the process does not damage the desired sensory attributions of food since the entire food mass is heated.
Ohmic heating is a prominent technology and meeting growing demands of food manufacturing enterprises, especially those that produce sliced, diced and whole fruit in a sauce. Numerous future applications are arising from Ohmic heating that will revolutionize the food industry.
Microwave and Radio Frequency Electric Field (RFEF) Processing
Here Microwave and Radio Frequency Electric Field heating is accomplished when certain frequencies of electromagnetic waves are used to generate heat in a material. Microwave and radio frequency heating require less time to rise to the desired process temperature, and this makes it more preferable to conventional heating for pasteurization and sterilization.
So far studies have shown that size, shape, composition, multiple components, and liquidity/solidity of the food being treated are some of the crucial factors which affect the effectiveness of microwave heating. Commercialization of radio frequency heating system for purposes of food pasteurization or sterilizing are not yet in fool effect despite the process being reported for three decades.
Use of high-Pressure Processing has been commercialized for an extended period now. Its applications have prospered especially in heat-sensitive food by inactivating microbes. How high-pressure processing works is by use of the high pressure to kill microorganisms. The high pressure disturbs the cellular functions of the bacteria without application of heat, and this can damage the taste, texture, and nutrition of the food.
HPP use is suitable for killing most vegetative microorganisms which grow in food under normal storage conditions. HPP does not affect the shape and texture of food despite the high pressure. HPP makes this possible by acting instantaneously and uniformly on a mass of food independent of size, shape and food composition.
Infrared heating can be considered as a relatively new process in the food industry. It has been commercialized mostly for the decontamination of ham and other meat products surfaces. This process uses infrared lamps which radiate heat which are at a relatively low temperature, and this aids to reduce bacteria on the ready-to-eat meat products surfaces but still retaining product quality. Infrared heating system, when combined with other tools, provide a promising bacteria inactivation process on the post-package products.
Innovative Nonthermal Processing Technology
The food industry is striving to meet consumer demands, and as the competition for innovative best practice technology increase, the use of nonthermal processing has grown. To stay ahead of the competition, food manufacturers have to produce food that maintain their quality attributes as well as extendintheir shelf life while ensuring product safety. Use of heat to sterilize food may not work for every food types especially fresh-cut fruits and vegetables or juices. Other nonthermal means such as high-pressure processing, pulsed electric fields, radio-frequency electric fields, ultraviolet light, and irradiation have been adopted.
The need for food security continues to increase not only to safeguard the reputation of the food manufacturing company but also to protect human lives. If food manufacturers are not careful, pathogens that develop in food such as Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, and Shiga toxin might cause a major epidemic to the masses.
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