Technology developed by Food Science Australia (FSA) to improve the way that fruit juices and other food products are pasteurised is being used commercially in a new Melbourne food-processing facility.
The director of FSA’s Innovative Foods Centre (IFC), Dr Kees Versteeg, said that the technology further developed by the IFC – called high-pressure processing (HPP) – uses pressures of about 6,000 times the average air pressure at sea level to pasteurise food products.
‘The unique benefits of HPP are that it kills microbes such as yeasts, moulds and bacteria and extends the shelf life of chilled perishable products, without adversely affecting the food’s freshness, flavour, colour, texture and nutritional value,’ said Versteeg.
Normally processors would have to use preservatives or heat the product and this inevitably changes the taste and destroys some nutrients.
‘Several years ago we developed prototype juice and other fruit products using HPP and assessed them for quality and shelf life. We took these out to the industry to see who’d be interested in using the process. Donny Boy Fresh Food Company embraced HPP and we worked with them to develop and commercialise their juice and fruit products,’ added Versteeg.
Andrew Gibb, Donny Boy’s managing director, said that FSA’s involvement was essential to his company’s start-up.
‘Our company began life at FSA’s IFC. We undertook all trials and first commercial production of our Preshafruit juices and fruits at FSA,’ he said.
Donny Boy also uses HPP to preserve other foods and is the first company in the world to supply HPP fruit to the dairy industry.
The IFC was established with the support of Science, Technology and Innovation Initiative grants from the Victorian government.
A joint partnership between Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Victorian government, FSA continues to use its expertise in food processing, chemistry, microbiology and sensory science to develop further HPP products with the food industry.
FSA’s high-pressure processing unit can subject foods to pressures of about 6,000 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level in order to preserve food without heating