As high pressure processing (HPP) grows to provide consumers foods with natural flavors and free of preservatives, the most important job of HPP is to keep consumers safe from harmful bacteria such as salmonella and listeria. Heretofore, the gap in that process has been the inability to inspectindividual packages to identify where the HPP process might have failed.
Identifying an individual failed package has significant economic advantages versus eliminating an entire run of prepared foods following the vessel exposure to the HPP process.
Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) has introduced its second generation of printable BlindSpotz™ HPP verification technology. At the individual unit level, the CTI enhancements can differentiate between packages processed at 70K psi, 80K psi and 87K psi. The technology also identifies short cycles such as packages at 87K psi for less than one minute.
A typical protein or juice product is processed through HPP at 87K psi for three minutes. Failure to hit that target pressure results in substantial risk of harmful contamination.
BlindSpotz™ HPP verification technology prints a clear message/image and then a blue color appears when the proper target is reached. To make it easy to use in a production environment, a reference color is used for comparison. If the HPP verification ink is lighter than the reference color, the package is easily identified as “failed” in the HPP process. For more rigorous or automated systems, the precision of a ‘vision system’ is used to measure the color to ensure an objective analysis instead of human eyes.
“Customers pushed us hard for a smart, affordable technology that could validate the initiation of the kill step of the most dangerous bacteria during the HPP process. This makes it easy to identify – – at the individual package level – – if something failed,” said Lyle Small, CTI’s founder and chief executive officer. “An HPP failure is a safety hand grenade waiting to explode for brands and retailers if there isn’t a simple way to identify dangerous product. The HPP machines are very smart at detecting problems, but they don’t provide the inspection of individualpackages.”
There are three ways to use the HPP validation technology: (1) an HPP badge can be used in every tote (or basket) of packages to confirm success and retained for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.(HACCP) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) records, (2) stickers can be applied to individual packages and (3) printed on the package as part of existing printing process. HydroFresh, an HPP toller from Delphos, Ohio, makes the technology available to its customers.
“HydroFresh has been an early tester of CTI’s BlindSpotz™ HPP validation technology. We will now offer our customers the option of validation tote badges as an added layer of quality and safety,” states Hydro Fresh President Don Klausing.
“The difference between good quality and great service is providing HPP validation of quality and safety at the individual package or tote level. Hydro Fresh seeks to be the best HPP toller in the business by providing total transparency to our customers,” Klausing added
The BlindSpotz™ technology is deployed across the protein, juice, sauce product lines overseas in Chile, France, Spain, Mexico as well as within the United States.