Kreyenborg introduces infrared germ reduction technology

Dried foodstuffs require a treatment that is vigorous yet gentle enough not to damage the delicate plant proteins. Pic: Kreyenborg

Kreyenborg Plant Technology has developed an infrared machine that destroys germs in dried foodstuffs that require gentle treatment, such as tea, spices, dried herbs, nuts, kernels and seeds.

The German supplier of bulk solid handling for applications in the food industry will be showcasing the FoodSafety-IRD at ProFood Tech, to be held in Chicago from April 4-6, 2017.

Recently, several snack manufacturers had to recall sesame products because Salmonella had been found in testing.

Because of their natural micro-flora, dried foodstuffs such as seeds, herbs, spices, nuts and teas are susceptible to the rod-shaped bacteria spread by animals that can cause diarrhoea, fever and even fatalities among the elderly and immune-deficient people.

Researchers found that the average contamination level of Salmonella in spices and herbs was 4%; and as high as 8.2% in dried fennel; 9.4% in sesame seeds; and 15.5% in anise. 

Dried foodstuffs like these, too, also require a treatment that is vigorous – as Salmonella can survive from an extended period of time due to high desiccation tolerance – yet gentle enough not to damage the delicate plant proteins.

Kreyenborg, in conjunction with PS Perfect Solution, has spent the past three years developing the FoodSafety-IRD, thermal technology designed to obliterate all bacterial, yeast, molds and other pathogens in delicate ingredients.

This can be done during the processes of drying, roasting and toasting, all conducted by the same machine.

According to the company, the technology achieved impressive results in safely reducing microbiological contaminations in over 5,000 fully documented analyses.

“Germs are drastically reduced and numerous harmful substances dissolved and volatized. That is an absolute novelty in food technology,” Amrit Marx, marketing manager of Kreyenborg Plant Technology told BakeryandSnacks.

Logarithm reduction

Germ reduction was recorded to be above 10 log 5, meaning the number of germs was 100,000 times smaller than other test batches. As such, the technology has proven effective for even heavily germ-contaminated goods.

The company’s researchers tested the machine’s ability on over 100 dried products, including spices, nuts, mushrooms, chillies, teas, onions, herbal mixtures, flowers and products containing sugar.

Sensory damage, they noted, was barely detected, especially when compared to cases using traditional germ-reducing procedures.

They reported that many products seemed more flavor- and color-intensive after treatment.

Essential oils were only marginally affected.

How it works

The FoodSafety-IRD pinpoints infrared lights to destroy pathogens in raw materials. The light can be precisely controlled in all zones throughout the rotating drum at pre-set temperatures.

This heats the raw materials from the inside out.

To protect it, a light mist of water can be introduced, which can also be infused with additional aromas or colors.

The machine’s rotating drum ensures the raw product is thoroughly blended and eliminates the formation of nests. It also means all the foodstuffs is subjected to a uniform range of light.

Kreyenborg maintained that, in certain cases, a reduction of contaminants like pesticides and ochratoxins was also achievable.

“Goods treated with the technology are automatically stock protected,” said Marx.

“Insects and eggs are frequently found in the innermost core of product particles, which makes them particularly difficult to eradicate.

“Because the product particles are swiftly heated from the inside to the outside, the FoodSafety-IRD destroys the animal proteins without impairing the plant protein,” he said.

Source:

“Occurrence of Salmonella in herbs and spices: A long-time survey of a microbiological contract-laboratory”

Authors: H. Hartwig, A. Schloesser, W. Rabsch and G. Beckmann

Published in Fleischwirtschaft -Frankfurt- 86(3):150-154, January 2006

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