Non-Traditional Food Technologies May Yield Safer, Fresher, and More Nutritious Products

May 07, 1998

CHICAGO--New alternatives to traditional food technologies that may create safer and more wholesome foods will be revealed at the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT's) 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO in Atlanta in June.

"Emerging Technologies and Their Implications for Refrigerated and Frozen Foods" (Session 53, June 23, 9 AM) will examine non-thermal processes (i.e., high pressure, pulsed light, and pulsed electric fields), use of ozone and lactic acid bacteria on minimally processed produce, biotechnology applications for fresh produce and fish, and microbiological intervention technologies for beef carcasses. In addition to enhancing the safety of foods, these technologies are promising from a nutritional standpoint; they are likely to preserve nutrients better than traditional food processing methods, such as heat pasteurization. Biotechnology, for example, may be specifically applied to fruits and vegetables to enhance their nutritive value. Industry challenges in providing safe, high-quality minimally-processed foods will be discussed along with the best antimicrobial systems to extend the shelf-life of refrigerated foods. The challenges in harmonizing science and politics in food policy making will also be addressed.

"New Products & Technologies Session 2: Analytical and Process Technologies" (June 23, 9 AM) will feature new Time/Temperature Indicators (TTIs) to aid in determining the safety and quality of food products, a commercialized carbon dioxide (CO2) process for extending the shelf life of dairy foods, and a rapid test for detecting Staphylococcus aureus in food and environmental samples.

TTIs are color-coded labels that sense time and temperature as they affect product quality and safety. They can indicate to product handlers or consumers whether the product has been kept at the proper temperature and is safe to eat. The CO2 process has been shown in most cases to double the shelf life of dairy foods by controlling the growth of common spoilage bacteria. An estimated 14 percent of all U.S. foodborne outbreaks are caused by the toxins produced by S. aureus. Traditional methods for testing for the presence of this bacterium in foods require two or more days and have limited sensitivity. The new rapid test can detect low levels of the bacteria in samples within 24 hours, allowing for quick product recall if necessary.

IFT's Annual Meeting will be at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Founded in 1939, IF is a non-profit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government. As the society for food science and technology, IF brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues.

Institute of Food Technologists

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