Many dehydrated Agri products like onion and garlic are produced and consumed in large volumes in India. Massive losses are seen due to their poor storage conditions resulting in economic loss. Dehydration of these agricultural products is commonly employed to extend the shelf-life and facilitate bulk handling. However, spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms have been reported to contaminate them and their by-products throughout the process line. To comply with the stringent regulatory aspects, optimizing the decontamination process in every food processing plant is necessary. In the last few years, the regulatory requirements for these products have also become stringent where export is concerned.
Thermal food sterilization and pasteurization are the most widespread preservation technologies to extend food shelf life by inactivating microorganisms and enzymes that can deteriorate food products.
Steam Sterilization is an all-natural, environmentally friendly process that maintains the key properties of the ingredients while avoiding the potential side effects of other chemical-based processes.
The main difference from sterilization is that the lower temperatures used for pasteurization do not require the need for operating under pressure. Thus, the equipment systems needed for pasteurization are much simpler in design and easier to operate and maintain.
The “natural” way to decontaminate food
The use of natural steam to sterilize and pasteurize spices, herbs, and vegetables at appropriate temperatures is a safe option exercised to ensure the microbial safety of these products. These methods reduce or eliminate bacteria, pathogens, and other causes of food-borne illnesses. It does not leave behind any chemical residue or create toxins. Effective steam treatment helps eliminate Listeria, Salmonella, E. Coli, and various other bacteria and pathogens.
Steam Sterilization works with the principle of very short contact (20-40 seconds) with high-pressure steam at a temperature that may vary between 102°C and 122°C, making it possible to decontaminate heat-sensitive herbs, nuts, pulses, and spices without any adverse effect on quality.
Steam Pasteurization can be used for hydrophilic spices like onion, garlic, dehydrated vegetables, and fruits to kill microbes at a high temperature that varies between 100°C to 105°C at atmospheric pressure.
The lack of awareness regarding this Sterilization and Pasteurization process
Dehydration being a preservative technique has not proven to be efficient in maintaining safety standards. Therefore, post-dehydration decontamination becomes necessary to maintain the safety standards of many Agri products.
Dehydration is the removal of water from the food matrix. This causes the concentration of solute and an increase in the nutrient concentration in the dehydrated food product. However, the nutrient contents and their bioavailability depend on the dehydration technique employed.
The addition of a decontamination treatment to a process line would add to the cost of operation (energy consumption, manpower, and depreciation, respectively) and, in turn, increase the product cost. Despite the added operation cost, prevention of spoilage and wastage would gain profits with high-quality and safe food products.
Generally, dehydration plants opt for a low-cost method that often deters the quality of the product. The Steam Sterilization and pasteurization process from Tema Process BV, the Netherlands uses pure steam for decontamination while maintaining the quality and the characteristics of dehydrated products.
Designing a hygienic decontaminated plant environment
Good practices during food processing considering the CCP(Critical Control Points) would possibly lower microbial contamination in the final product.
A typical pasteurization plant has a low-temperature design with a shaking pasteurizer that is directly connected to a shaking fluid bed dryer/cooler. It uses ambient superheated steam for pasteurization and sterile filtered air for drying and cooling. The process is controlled by a PLC with data acquisition and analysis. These plants can be designed for products like herbs, seeds, nuts, cinnamon, parsley, garlic, flake, pistachio nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried vegetables (onion & garlic) among others.
Advance your food safety journey with Jaivik Foods
With advanced sterilization and pasteurization technology, Jaivik Foods along with a technical collaborator from the Netherlands, TEMA PROCESS, has the right expertise, experience, and equipment to help you ensure the microbial safety of your spices, herbs, botanicals, seeds, whole products, and ground products. They will help you develop the best machines, build them, test them, and install them on your site. Get in touch with the team to know more about the right process and services according to your plant needs at a reasonable cost.