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Processing Foods Under Pressure Adds to Their Allure

By Lorrie Baumann

Better packaging has been identified as a key to minimizing food waste, and high pressure processing is a technology that’s coming to the rescue. High pressure processing is a cold pasteurization process that uses cold pressure rather than heat to kill pathogens.

PFM CL n ingredients for webHigh pressure processing is most often used to process beverages, meats, poultry and seafood and also a variety of fruit and vegetable-based products like dips and spreads. Although the technology has existed since the late 19th century, it’s only been commercially used for food production since the 1990s, according to Nali Prchal, a Senior Food Technologist with Avure HPP/JBT, a high pressure processing equipment manufacturer. The company also operates a laboratory that supports its HPP customers with education, process fine-tuning, recipe testing and hazard analysis plans.

“So many food and beverage companies are getting into the HPP market – it’s just exploding,” Prchal said. “Consumers are demanding transparent, clean labels. They not only want clean label foods and beverages, but they want convenience that fits their lifestyle, and those two things are what HPP brings together.”

HPP works by destroying pathogens with high pressure. The food is placed in a plastic package – usually either a bottle or pouch – that’s flexible enough to withstand high pressure without breaking and impermeable to air and moisture. Then it’s submerged in water, and high pressure is applied – 87,000 pounds per square inch, or six times the pressure in the very deepest part of the ocean. The packaged food is held under that pressure for one to three minutes while the germs that could create spoilage are killed with high pressure. Then the water and the pressure are released, and the food product is ready for distribution.

The food products that have been subjected to this process keep nutrients that are otherwise damaged by heat, and they also retain their natural color, flavor and texture. “Because of food safety and superior product quality, HPP is a green light for clean label applications, so the technology is growing rapidly,” Prchal said. “Ready-meals, drinkable soups, baby foods, raw foods and functional beverages are product categories that are rapidly adopting this technology.

“High pressure processing is currently a $12 billion industry and is expected to double in six years,” Prchal said. “The really great thing about HPP is that there are no chemicals used in the process, and it allows food companies to remove preservatives from their products because they’re just no longer needed,” she said. “HPP foods retain their nutrients, color, texture and flavor, and that creates premium pricing opportunities for grocers. This is because consumers are demanding the benefits that HPP provides.”

Organic Farmers Association Announces Policy Leadership

Organic Farmers Association, a national membership organization for certified organic farmers, sponsored by Rodale Institute, has announced a new Policy Director and elected the first Policy Committee. This new leadership will facilitate Organic Farmers Association’s policy platform created by certified organic farmer members.

Mark Rokala will serve as Policy Director and lead policy work, under the direction of the newly elected policy committee and coordinating closely with the Organic Farmers Association Director Kate Mendenhall and Steering Committee Chair Jim Riddle. Rokala will be leading work on the farm bill, helping identify Organic Farmers Association farmer members’ policy priorities, connecting members with Congressional leaders, and ensuring that the nation’s federal policies help support thriving independent organic farmers.

Rokala has more than 28 years of experiences in agriculture policy, with 23 of those years working on state and federal agricultural policy. He worked for seven years as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill and 16 years as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. focusing on agricultural and food policy.

“The Organic Farmers Association is excited to welcome Mark Rokala as our Policy Director,” said Jim Riddle. “Given the proven power of organic production to promote soil health, produce healthy food, and restore rural economic vitality, organic farmers must make our voices heard in D.C. Mark has a great deal of experience working on federal farm policy, and will help members of Congress and federal agencies understand the importance of investing in and protecting organic systems.”

The first elected Policy Committee is made up of 12 voting certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members. Committee members are regionally diverse and reflect the national diversity of organic farms. The Policy Committee will facilitate OFA’s policy platform, created by certified organic farmer members. From its start in the fall of 2016, Organic Farmers Association has been working to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement with a strong voice advocating for organic farmers. This first Policy Committee will help guide this work forward from the ground up.

2017 Policy Committee includes:
California Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Kenneth Kimes, Greensward / New Natives, LLC, Aptos, California
Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures, Fresno, California
California Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
David Runsten, Policy Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, California
Western Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm & Ranch, Big Sandy, Montana
Pryor Garnett, Garnetts Red Prairie Farm, Sheridan, Oregon
Western Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Kristina Hubbard, Director of Advocacy, Organic Seed Alliance, Missoula, Montana
North Central Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Francis Thicke, Radiance Dairy Fairfield, Iowa
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm, Gays Mills, Wisconsin
North Central Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Matthew Miller, Policy Committee Member, Iowa Organic Association, Ames, Iowa
Midwest Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Michael Adsit, Plymouth Orchards, Plymouth, Michigan
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
Midwest Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Casey Trinkaus, Livestock & Poultry Specialist, The Fertrell Company, Bainbridge, Pennsylvania
Southern Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Laura Freeman, Mt. Folly Farm, Winchester, Kentucky
Jennifer Taylor, Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, Georgia
Southern Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Michael Sligh, Program Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Pittsboro, North Carolina
Northeast Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Rodney Graham, Oxbow Organic Farm, Hunt, New York
Dave Chapman Long Wind Farm, East Thetford, Vermont
Northeast Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Edward Maltby Executive Director, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Deerfield, Massachusetts

New Tuscanini Parchment Crackers Offered in U.S.

From Tuscanini, maker of genuine brick wood oven personal pizzas, authentic home-style sauces, and hand-crafted biscotti, comes Tuscanini Parchment Crackers, paper-thin treats imported from the idyllic island of Sardinia off the sunny Italian coast. The crackers are imported into the U.S. by Kayco.

“Consumers are looking for simple yet sophisticated snack options,” says Kayco Vice President of Marketing Kimberly Cassar. “We know that crackers are found in 77 percent of U.S. households, and there is a demand for healthy yet delicious crackers. Tuscanini’s hand-crafted Parchment Crackers are baked, never fried, so they’re an ideal swap for flatbread, chips, or calorie-heavy snack crackers. Following the consumer preference for ultra-thin snacking options, our parchment crackers deliver authentic Italian flavor with just five simple ingredients and 120 calories per serving.”

All three varieties – olive oil, olive oil with rosemary, and olive oil with oregano – are GMO free and perfect with antipasto or served alongside a cheese plate, and make a delicious complement to an elegant Italian meal. Each cracker is made from an authentic Italian recipe using time-honored techniques to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. They’re OU kosher and dairy free, too.

Imported from Italy and packaged with 10 3.5-ounce packs per case, Tuscanini Parchment Crackers are sold in the cracker category, where they retail for $2.99 per pack, and to upscale restaurants. Kayco, also known as Kedem, is headquartered in Bayonne, New Jersey. Its kosher food products are available at independent grocers and in every major supermarket chain in the U.S. and can be found in more than 30 countries.

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