Ohio a hub for bacteria-killing, high-pressure food processing

Feb. 3, 2017

By Marion Renault
The Columbus Dispatch

It's a common kitchen tragedy: a vibrant green avocado transforms into a dull, stringy lump overnight.

However, a resurfaced technology promises to preserve refrigerated foods from that fate through the use of incredible pressure.

Unlike traditional methods that blanch and boil harmful microorganisms out of products, this process eliminates unwanted elements while protecting the food's original nutrients and flavors.

"It's as close to fresh as you can ever want," said Ahmed Yousef, an Ohio State University microbiology professor.

Food companies have begun to adopt high-pressure processing to extend the shelf life of products such as deli meats, cold-pressed juices, pasta salads, soups and baby food.

As the refrigerated-food industry begins to embrace the technology, Ohio has emerged as a hub of sorts. One of a handful of high-pressure-processing equipment companies in the world is based in Cincinnati; Ohio State has devoted a research team to exploring how the method might eliminate the need for food additives; and dozens of companies around the state are eager to follow the example of Ohio food processors that have invested in the technology.

"Interest is percolating," said Rebecca Singer, president and CEO of the Center for Innovative Food Technology, a Toledo-based nonprofit. "Ohio really embraced it and is carrying it forward more readily than elsewhere in the country."  Click here for the full article.