Food preservation - Articles and news items

Investigating the potential of HPT for safeguarding food

Industry news  •  27 May 2016  •  Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

Highly resistant fresh food could be achieved, according to encouraging results from ongoing studies that combine high pressure with temperature (HPT)…

Ultra-thin silk coating extends the life of fruits

Industry news  •  6 May 2016  •  Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

Engineers have demonstrated that fruits can stay fresh for more than a week without refrigeration when coated in an odourless, biocompatible silk solution…

Refrigeration: A deep dive into the deep freeze

Issue 2 2016  •  26 April 2016  •  Ruud van der Sman, Food & Biobased Research, Wageningen University & Research Centre (UR)

Freezing is an important means for food preservation as, with this technology, long term storage of high quality foods is possible. To achieve high food quality the freezing rate is an important parameter, determining ice crystal size and shape and also the mechanical stresses imparted to the food. For foods with a cellular structure the ice crystal size, with respect to the cell size, is a critical measure, determining the texture and water holding capability of the food after thawing. If ice crystals grow too large during freezing, they will puncture the cell membrane and the food will leak the intracellular fluid during thawing. Also, the food texture will become unappetising and mushy…

Food biopreservative nisin kills cancer cells and MRSA in study

Industry news  •  12 January 2016  •  Victoria White

A study has found that nisin, a naturally occurring food preservative that grows on dairy products, delivers a one-two punch to cancer and antibiotic-resistant bacteria…

Nestlé opens frozen and chilled food R&D centre in Solon, US

Industry news  •  22 July 2015  •  Victoria White

Nestlé has opened a $50m research and development centre in Solon, Ohio to develop new nutritionally balanced and gluten free options for the company…

3D-printed smart cap uses electronics to sense spoiled food

Industry news  •  21 July 2015  •  Victoria White

Engineers have 3D-printed a wireless “smart cap” for a milk carton that detects signs of spoilage using embedded sensors…

Blue LEDs could be used as chemical-free food preservation technology

Industry news  •  15 July 2015  •  Victoria White

A team of scientists has found that blue LEDs have strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens and could be effective in preserving food…

Pulsed electric fields could be used in developing countries to preserve milk

Industry news  •  20 May 2015  •  Victoria White

Pulsed electric fields could provide an energy-efficient way to preserve milk in developing countries, according to a team from Tel Aviv University…

Bioplastics made from albumin could be used in antibacterial food packaging

Industry news  •  31 March 2015  •  Victoria White

Bioplastics made from protein sources such as albumin have shown significant antibacterial properties and could eventually be used in food packaging…

Current advances in food freezing

Issue 5 2014  •  27 October 2014  •  Christian James and Stephen J. James, Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Frozen food is one of the largest sectors of the food industry and its value is increasing throughout the world. The frozen food market in seven of the major Western European Economies was valued at €83.51 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow in value by 10.89 per cent by 2016. The market is broadly segmented into frozen; vegetables and fruits, potatoes, ready meals, meat, fish/seafood and soup and more than 35 per cent of this market is in the frozen ready meals sector. In a previous article for New Food we discussed different innovative freezing technologies for foods. Apart from impingement, many of the technologies discussed are still in development. In this article we will look at proven technologies…

Packaged chillers with ammonia as a refrigerant: the natural choice

Issue 4 2012  •  6 September 2012  •  René van Gerwen, Global Lead Engineer Refrigeration & HVAC, Unilever Engineering Services

Industrial chillers for the supply of chilled water, cold glycol or brine, are frequently used over a long time, and have become even more attractive for several applications to replace direct refrigeration systems. Greenhouse gas footprint and lifecycle costs of ownership of industrial chillers can be significantly reduced by using ammonia as a refrigerant, instead of the traditionally used HFCs. Ammonia does not contribute to ozone depletion nor global warming and ammonia chillers are generally more energy efficient than equivalent HFC chillers. Packaged chillers, using ammonia as a refrigerant, are currently available from several suppliers.

On the basis of supplier information, com – parisons have been made between a typical packaged ammonia chiller and an equivalent HFC chiller, confirming that packaged ammonia chillers are an attractive and feasible alternative for conventional HFC chillers, particularly in industrial applications. As the chiller community is unfamiliar with ammonia as a refrigerant, more standardisation in safety regulations, equipment and housing details, simplified operation and maintenance procedures and lower equipment costs may further help in accelerating the wider use of the natural refrigerant ammonia in this new application area.

Innovative freezing technologies for foods

Issue 4 2012  •  6 September 2012  •  Stephen J. James & Christian James, Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Freezing is a well-established food preservation process that produces high quality nutritious foods that offer the advantage of a long storage life. However, freezing is not suitable for all foods and freezing does cause physical and chemical changes in many foods that are perceived as reducing the quality of the thawed material.

There is a general view that fast freezing, and the formation of small ice crystals, offers some quality advantages. However, this is not true of all foods. For example, while freezing rate may affect drip in meat there is no evidence that it has any substantial influence on its final eating quality. Nevertheless, many innovative freezing processes are currently being researched and developed across the globe to improve freezing times and product quality.

Some innovative freezing processes (impingement and Hydro-fluidisation) are essentially improvements of existing methods (air blast and immersion, respectively) that by providing far higher surface heat transfer rates than previous systems, aim to improve product quality through rapid freezing. In these cases, the advantages may depend on the size of the product, since the poor thermal conductivity of many foods limits the rate of cooling in large objects rather than the heat transfer between the cooling medium and the product.

Overview of food preservation technologies

Issue 2 2011  •  13 May 2011  •  Dr Paul Gibbs & Dr Evangelia Komitopoulou, Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research

The control of microbial access and growth in foods from ‘farm to fork’ is important to ensure consumer health and well-being and minimise losses of foods through spoilage. Whilst it seems almost impossible to achieve a good and consistently hygienic production of raw materials, there are many different ways of controlling both access and growth of important microorganisms. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), i.e. hygienic handling of the raw materials, should start on the farm to minimise pathogenic species that are naturally present in farm environments and can then be transferred to raw materials for food production. The whole environment of a manufacturing plant needs to be subjected to the HACCP principles to control ‘persistent pathogens’ which can be transferred to food ‘in-process’ and avoid post-process contamination.

The basic characteristics of food preservation technologies addressing chemical, biological, thermal and non-thermal processes is presented below.


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