In the mid 19th century, Louis Pasteur helped France safeguard its beer and wine industries by establishing a manufacturing process that preserved and protected alcoholic products from spoilage during export. The principles of that system, eventually known as pasteurization, were based on his observations not only that microorganisms could change the molecular makeup of substances, but that they could be killed when exposed to high temperatures. Coupled with the scientific significance of French chef Nicolas Appert’s previous research on sterilization and canning techniques, thermal pasteurization quickly became the de facto approach for food manufacturers wanting to guarantee the safety and preserve the quality of their liquid and some semi-solid products.
The only problem: exposure to extreme temperatures often changes the way a food tastes, as well as its nutritional value. Believing that neither should have to be sacrificed because of safety and preservation concerns and buoyed by additional scientific advances, as well as increasing public interest in clean eating, more and more manufacturers are starting to use a high pressure processing system (HPP or pascalization) instead of heat to pasteurize their products. HPP effectively removes most pathogens and other harmful microorganisms and extends shelf life, but does not alter a food’s nutritional content, its color or its flavor. Take a look at the two most common types of high pressure pasteurization equipment:
Water Tanks for Prepackaged Food Pasteurization
Certain prepackaged liquid and solid food items can be pasteurized using a large steel tank filled with a liquid (usually water). After the packaged food is loaded in to the tank, pumps apply pressure that changes the food’s cell structure, effectively inhibiting cell division and killing most microorganisms. According to food science research at Rutgers University, “vegetable and fruit products such as juices, salsa, dressing and guacamole; meat products such as ready-to-eat deli meats and poultry; and seafood such as shellfish and fish products” can all be processed using a high pressure pasteurization technique. The tank method is capable of processing a lot of food at one time, making it a good choice for manufacturers with high volume productions.
Homogenizers for Liquids and Semi-Solid Pasteurization
Liquids and some semi-solid products can also be pasteurized with high pressure homogenizers that push them through a series of tubes using a hydraulic pumping system that creates pressure and sterilizes them. The homogenizer then expels the product through a small opening with a drop in pressure that forces cell rupture, breaking the product apart into equally sized pieces that can be easily and uniformly mixed. Combining the pasteurization and homogenization process allows manufacturers to more efficiently manage their time, reducing their energy use and waste, and serves as a viable alternative to thermal pasteurization in the milk and juice industries especially.
Want to Learn More?
High pressure pasteurization equipment improves the shelf life of products and maintains food flavor and nutritional value. At Pion, our BEE brand high pressure homogenizers also provide the added benefit of completely dispersing the particles of your products, allowing for uniform texture in addition to taste. This means you can use our homogenizers to enhance more than just food products. Our high pressure pasteurization equipment improves pharmaceutical, chemical, biofuel and cosmetic manufacturing and aids in RNA extraction and oil emulsification processes. Contact us to learn how it can help you, too.