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Alternative Processing Technologies and Chemical Preservatives to Improve the Safety of Fruit Juices

Investigators
Williams, Robert
Institutions
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Start date
2002
End date
2005
Objective
  1. To determine the parameters for the application of alternative processing technologies (i.e., technologies other than pasteurization) in combination with chemical preservatives, necessary to provide a reduction of disease-causing bacteria in fruit juices.
  2. To educate graduate level students on the current status of food safety problems related to juice and to provide these students with new information gained through research related to the project.
  3. To integrate research observations with training approaches to enhance quality and safety practices among juice processors with the goal of increasing product safety.
More information
  1. The investigators will apply to apple cider and orange juice the following alternative technologies: ultraviolet light, ozone, high pressure processing, high energy ultrasound, and pulsed electric fields, in combination with the following antimicrobial chemicals: potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, hydrogen peroxide, dimethyl dicarbonate, or cinnamic acid, in order to determine the combined parameters necessary to reduce populations of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella by 99.999 percent.
  2. The investigators will develop course modules that convey research findings to students in graduate level advanced food microbiology courses, and contribute to the graduate education of those students involved in the performing research activities related to the project through advising and research management activities.
  3. The investigators will interpret and provide research observations to juice procesors through extension publications and roundtable discussions.

Recent outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of unpasteurized fruit juices have led to governmental regulations that require treatments to reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria that may occur in such products. This project explores combinations of alternative processing technologies with chemical preservatives as an alternative to pasteurization for assuring the safety of fresh apple cider and orange juice.

Concerns over the safety of unpasteurized juices has led the FDA to issue juice HACCP regulations that require a minimum 5-log reduction in populations of the pertinent pathogen in the juice being processed. Many producers, particularly small operations, are unable to utilize pasteurization for economic and other reasons or are opposed to pasteurization because of perceived adverse effects on product quality and acceptability. Alternative processing techniques may provide a means for improving juice safety while maintaining product quality and economic feasibility. The objectives for this study are (1) to determine the parameters for the application of ultraviolet light, ozone, high pressure processing, high energy ultrasound, and pulsed electric fields, in combination with either potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, hydrogen peroxide, dimethyl dicarbonate, or cinnamic acid, necessary to provide a minimum 5-log reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. in apple cider and orange juice, (2) to develop course modules that convey research findings to students in graduate level advanced food microbiology courses, and to contribute to the graduate education of those students involved in the performing research activities related to the project, and (3) to integrate research observations with training approaches to enhance quality and safety practices among juice processors with the goal of increasing product safety. Due to the recent start of this project, only preliminary preparations have been accomplished.

Identification of alternative processing technologies that would serve as a feasible alternative to thermal pasteurization could provide many juice processors, particularly small operations, with an economically viable means of complying with federal juice HACCP requirements. Many small processors, the primary beneficiaries of this research, are located in rural settings that benefit economically from such businesses. Providing alternative processing options, and the education to implement them, could allow small juice processors to continue processing juice products and improve the fiscal stability of such companies.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
VA-428024
Accession number
192995
Categories
Escherichia coli
Bacterial Pathogens