PHILADELPHIA – The Safe Pac Corporation recently began offering high-pressure-pasteurization to processors of food products on a contract basis from its East Coast facility.

Using equipment manufactured by Madrid, Spain-based NC Hyperbaric, Safe Pac markets the technology as a means for companies to offer healthier, preservative-free products.

High Pressure Pasteurization applies 87,000 lbs. of hydraulic pressure per square inch to ready-to-eat, packaged products to deactivate and destroy pathogenic bacteria and microbiological contaminant flora.

Designed for pre-packaged ready-to-eat products including meats, soups, wet salads, sauces, fruit smoothies, shellfish and seafood, Safe Pac's HPP process allows food manufacturers to offer safely packaged, minimally altered chemical-and-preservative-free goods to retailers, with minimal fear of recall due to bacterial contamination.

“Our HPP Process completely eradicates harmful bacteria, eliminating the need for chemicals and preservatives, without compromising the taste or texture of the treated products," said Guy Giordano, president of Safe Pac Pasteurization LLC.

Best used on moist foods without internal air pockets, HPP places pre-packaged products in flexible containers (i.e. pouches, plastic bottles) into a high-pressure chamber, which is then flooded with cold water and pressurized for a short time period, usually three to five minutes. As pressure is applied uniformly around and throughout the product, reaching all parts of the product simultaneously, treated foods retain their original shape and texture.

Unlike competitive heat-based processes, the quality of HPP processed foods is similar to fresh food products because pressure has little to no effect on low molecular-weight components such as color, flavor and vitamin content. Because it protects naturally, preserving foods with water pressure, HPP meets Organic standards, processing products without impacting their USDA Organic designation.

"By denaturing the cells of food borne pathogens without using chemicals, we're setting a standard and sending a message," Giordano said.