What are the new sustainable techniques to decontaminate food?

Different measures to decontaminate food have evolved considerably over the last decades.

The traditional system based on the application of heat has given way to other non-thermal treatments due to the several disadvantages appreciated such as changes in the organoleptic propertiesloss of nutrients, destruction of vitamins, flavor changes and its high energy consumption associated.

High pressure processing



High pressure processing (HPP) is a cold pasteurization technique by which products after sealed in its final package, are introduced into a vessel and subjected to a high level of isostatic pressure (300-600 MPa/43500-87000 psi) transmitted by water.

The application in the agri-food sector was carried out in 1990, when the company Meidi-ya launched jellies, jams and vegetable sauces processed by high pressures.

Nowadays, there are 170 high pressure machines all over the world. In Spain six companies have implemented this technique in the meat products sub-sector (Espuña, Campofrío, MRM, Martiko, Jamcal and APA processing).

The technology can be used in a wide range of products in the agri-food sector such as meat products (sliced ham, turkey or chicken cuts, whole pieces of cured ham), avocado, some ready-to-eat meals, seafood products (oyster, clams, mussels, lobster, crabs…), juices, products containing fruits (purees, coulis, sauces, smoothies…), sandwiches or dairy products (yoghurt and cheese). As far as other sectors, HPP can be applied in pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields.

Pressures above 400 MPa/58000 psi at cold (4 to 10ºC) or ambient temperature inactivate bacteria, virus, yeasts, moulds and parasites present in food, extending the products shelf-life importantly and guaranteeing food safety.



The key parameters for the success of high pressure technology are safety, reliability and productivity, ease of installation, operation, servicing and ease of cleaning. In addition, HPP is a friendly technology; it only needs water which is recycled and it requires low energy consumption. It also achieves reduction of waste due to the extension of the products shelf-life.

High intensity pulsed light technology

Pulsed light is a method that involves the use of intense and short duration pulses. The spectrum includes wavelengths from Ultraviolet (UV) to near infrared.

Pulsed light multiplies power many fold. The accumulated energy in fraction of seconds is released to do work in a less time (millionths of a s). A high power is released with moderate power consumption.


Ultrasound is the energy generated by sound waves of 20,000 or more vibrations per second. The bactericidal effect of ultrasound is generally attributed to intracellular cavitation. The shocks are caused by making and breaking microscopic bubbles originated by fluctuating pressures and disrupt cellular structural components causing lysis.

Source | HiperbaricEurocarneUS Food and drug administrationJournal of Food Science and engineeringAvureICREA

Image | GizmagFoodsecretsHiperbaric

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I am an environmentalist specialised in quality and safety. Currently, I am working in Andalusian Institute of technology (IAT) based on Seville. Read Full

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