Steam decontamination of heat sensitive powders
Preventing contamination of food or nutritional powders by microorganisms is still a real challenge today which has not been fully addressed yet by the industry. Due to the increasing demand of food ingredients with extended shelf life and greater diversity, it is important to control contamination issues and to have comprehensive knowledge on how to avoid or eliminate any contamination during the powder processing in bulk material manufacturing facilities.
The industry being fully aware of the contamination risks of food powders that could potentially lead to food poisonings such as the recent outbreak of contaminated milk powder has been pushed to find new technologies for decontamination of powder particulates.
However, the decontamination of dried powder is highly complex and challenging due to the risk of changing the powder properties, i.e. by losing the nutrition and sensory properties of the food products.
In cooperation with ETH Zurich and industrial partners, Dec has developed an innovative solution to decontaminate heat sensitive powders by using steam and vacuum. The novel technology using short term exposure and a Vacuum-Steam-Vacuum (VSV) treatment allows for microbial inactivation without altering the powder properties. T
This technology shows much better results than High-Temperature Short-Time (HTST) treatment which is mostly used for liquids as it shows its limitations for powder decontamination due to the difficulties to access the microorganisms in the porous surfaces of solid food.
Dec can supply the complete process line from handling the contaminated material, powder decontamination and final packing under controlled atmosphere. Our dedicated test facility is fully equipped with a pilot unit allowing to validate the microbial log reduction and any powder property changes during the treatment.