High-Pressure Thermal Sterilization: Food Safety and Food Quality of Baby Food Puree



The benefits that high-pressure thermal sterilization offers as an emerging technology could be used to produce a better overall food quality. Due to shorter dwell times and lower thermal load applied to the product in comparison to the thermal retorting, lower numbers and quantities of unwanted food processing contaminants (FPCs), for example, furan, acrylamide, HMF, and MCPD-esters could be formed. Two spore strains were used to test the technique; Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, over the temperature range 90 to 121 °C at 600 MPa. The treatments were carried out in baby food puree and ACES-buffer. The treatments at 90 and 105 °C showed that G. stearothermophilus is more pressure-sensitive than B. amyloliquefaciens. The formation of FPCs was monitored during the sterilization process and compared to the amounts found in retorted samples of the same food. The amounts of furan could be reduced between 81% to 96% in comparison to retorting for the tested temperature pressure combination even at sterilization conditions of F0-value in 7 min.

Practical Application

High-pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS) is an emerging technology to produce high-quality low-acid foods, which are shelf-stable at ambient temperature. However, an industrial scale process has not yet been implemented. The conducted work shows different temperature combinations (90 to 121°C) at 600 MPa and their influence on the endospore inactivation and on the formation of unwanted food process contaminants (FPCs), such as furan, compared to retorting. Use of HPTS could lead to shorter process times compared to retorting. Since the consumer groups are babies and infants, the reduction of harmful substances in their daily diet is an extra benefit.