"Our goal is to use ultra-high pressure ... to produce room temperature, shelf-stable foods," said Ron Tarrant, chairman, president and CEO of Flow International.
Waterjet manufacturer Flow International Corporation has signed agreements with Kraft Foods, ConAgra, Procter and Gamble, the U.S. Army Soldier Command, and the National Center for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology to jointly develop the use of ultrahigh-pressure technology to produce high-quality, shelf-stable food products.

The $2.3 million, three-year effort -- part of a Department of Defense, Dual Use Science and Technology Program -- will address the regulatory, quality and hardware aspects of the commercial production of foods that can be kept for extended periods of time without refrigeration. Development efforts will focus on low-acid, heat-sensitive foods, including soups, potatoes, and cheese products, for both military and consumer markets.

'Our goal is to use ultrahigh-pressure, instead of the high heat and long cooking times required for traditional canning, to produce room-temperature, shelf-stable foods with nutritional value, flavor, color, and texture unachievable today," said Ron Tarrant, chairman, president and CEO of Flow International, which manufactures ultrahigh-pressure waterjet technology for cutting, cleaning and food safety applications.

The company's Fresher Under Pressure food safety system utilizes ultrahigh pressure, rather than high temperatures, to destroy food-borne pathogens and spoilage microorganisms. Fresher Under Pressure is currently used to extend the shelf life of refrigerated products, such as seafood, juices and cold cuts. The technology is also used to destroy harmful bacteria.

Tarrant urged food companies to join Flow and others in their development efforts. Interested companies should contact Dr. Edmund Ting, vice president of research and development at (253) 813-3346 or eting@flowcorp.com.