No preservatives or heat for new food processing method

Mr Andrew Kwan (left), group managing director of Commonwealth Capital, and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam being shown how a high-pressure processing line works.
Mr Andrew Kwan (left), group managing director of Commonwealth Capital, and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam being shown how a high-pressure processing line works. PHOTO: ST FILE

An innovation that speeds up food processing and improves hygiene was unveiled here yesterday.

High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology uses ultra-high pressure to kill food-borne pathogens in packaged refrigerated products.

This cold pasteurisation technique subjects food, sealed in flexible packaging, to a high level of hydrostatic pressure in a machine of freezing temperature for about five minutes.

It avoids the use of heat or preservatives so the freshness, taste, colour and nutritional value of food products are retained and the products can sit on the shelves longer.

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The technology, which was demonstrated at the Food Manufacturing Learning Journey at Commonwealth Capital Building yesterday, is already in operation.

The Soup Spoon (TSS) chain bought a machine late last year for about $2 million, the only one in use here. Managing director Andrew Chan said yesterday that HPP tech can raise productivity and manpower savings as well as reduce food waste in manufacturing processes.

Other food and beverage firms will be able to access the benefits under a scheme involving Workforce Singapore, Spring Singapore, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and TSS. They have collaborated with four other local firms - TCGC, Golden Bridge, The Seafood Company and Joe & Dough - to manufacture ready-to-eat F&B products using HPP technology.

Under the project, TSS and SP will also offer the four firms access to the HPP facility.

Through masterclasses offered by TSS and SP, food manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises will also acquire the technical know-how on developing healthier, quality food.

Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck said at the event that F&B firms need to differentiate themselves through innovations such as new food processing and packaging techniques for better quality products.

The Seafood Company, which distributes fish products, is using TSS' machine. Managing director Kenneth Chia told The Straits Times: "HPP technology has enabled us to move away from frozen products to fresh, air-flown products with extended shelf life. We are now targeting regional retail markets for our ready-to-cook products."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'No preservatives or heat for new food processing method'. Print Edition | Subscribe