High power ultrasound - HPU - a recent innovation in ultrasound technology, offers an innovative, acceptable alternative to ozone, ultraviolet, high pressure and heat pasteurisation for the treatment of food products.
HPU can treat liquids such as food products, which contain high levels of particulate whilst ozone and ultraviolet can only operate effectively in filtered liquids.
HPU processes are currently being developed in a variety of industrial applications including the food industry.
Applications in the food industry have focused particularly on using HPU as a technology for emulsification, crystallisation, extraction and activation/enhancement of cell growth.
A process using HPU has not been commercially developed for the cold pasteurisation of meat products.
It is believed that HPU processes may enhance food safety in meat processing, which will result in E.coli free meat, which in turn, will lead to increased sales and exports of meat products and a premium price for pathogen-free meat, among other benefits.
The pasteurisation process
The pasteurisation process is chemical-free, the HPU equipment is modular, easy to install and operate, is suitable for both small and large operators and is relatively less expensive to operate compared with alternative equipment.
However, the capital cost of the HPU equipment is higher than, for example, ultraviolet equipment. The operating cost in terms of both power consumption and maintenance costs of HPU is considerably less.
Purpose of the PRTEC.003 study
This study aimed to determine whether:ultrasound treatments given to the packs have measurable effects on the meat quality parameters pH, meat colour and tenderness.ultrasound treatments reduce the numbers of test organisms with which portions of beef have before they are vacuum-packaged and treated.
Findings from PRTEC.003
This report shows that high power ultrasound is a processing technology that should be considered for applications in vacuum-packed and processed meat. It offers an alternative to heat pasteurisation, high pressure and irradiation for the treatment of intact packs of meat and other food products.
A process using high power ultrasound has not been commercially developed for the cold pasteurisation of meat products.
Purpose of A.TEC.0025 (PRTEC.025)
This complements PRTEC.003B. Its purpose was to determine the viability of a commercial intervention treatment system (ultrasonic or other) for vacuum-packaged meat by acquiring information on how the system might integrate with the current vacuum packaging process, the footprint required, and its capital and operating costs.
Findings from A.TEC.0025
This report outlines the further work on ultrasound that is necessary to give some indication of the likely technical success of the various possible configurations. Better information is required on how long the sonication treatment would need to be to be effective, particularly on whether sequential heat/sonication treatments are effective.