Better tech, safer food

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 225,000 lives are lost every year in the Asia and Pacific region due to foodborne diseases. John Young, Asia-Pacific director at EU Automation, describes how the latest technology can help produce food in a safer, more hygiene way.

Improving hygiene and safety is an unending quest for the food process and handling industry. With the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimating a staggering 225,000 deaths caused by foodborne diseases in Asia and Pacfic region every year, the industry faces an ethical imperative to maintain high standards.

There are also powerful commercial incentives. Businesses want to avoid damaging recalls, and satisfy growing consumer demands for increased food standards and product traceability.

Increasing the pressure
If consumers and governments are increasing the pressure to conform to more stringent standards, technology can increase the pressure in a different way. High pressure processing (HPP), also known as pascalisation, is becoming the most widespread emerging food processing technology.

HPP can match the food safety levels achieved by pasteurisation, but with additional benefits that heat processing does not possess. The application of high pressure can inactive viruses and bacteria without damaging the nutritional or sensory properties of the food. This provides a more efficient route to satisfying consumer demands for safer, fresher food.

A softer helping hand
Changing consumer tastes and demands, along with growing government regulation, is set to drive the uptake of new technologies in the sector over the next decade. Estimates vary, but most analysts predict that the market for food robotics is set to reach US$3.5 billion by the middle of this decade.

The majority o this growth is being driven by the Asia-Pacific region. If human workers are often the originators of contamination in food production, a greater proportion of robots in food-contact roles should, in theory, help reduce some of the risks.

The full article is published in the latest edition of Food & Beverage Asia Oct/Nov 2020. To continue reading the full article, click here.