Hormel Foods is the first U.S. food manufacturer to market meat products processed with ultrahigh pressure (UHP) technology.

During the week of February 4, Hormel started producing at its Austin, Minn. plant a variety of prepared ham products processed via Fresher Under Pressure UHP technology developed by Flow International Corp. (Kent, Wash.)

Flow on January 31 had announced "a major installation" of its UHP batch-processing equipment at Hormel's Austin plant. "We are anxious to immediately market these products, which will have the added benefits of increased shelf life and product safety," said Forrest Dryden, PhD, vice-president of R&D at Hormel.

The technology applies ultrahigh pressure to destroy foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms, improving food safety and extending product shelf life without affecting taste, texture or nutritional value.

Flow is providing Hormel with technical support to develop and commercialize the technology. "This relationship firmly establishes the viability of Fresher Under Pressure technology as a food production tool," said Flow President & CEO Ron Tarrant.

As reported last year in Food Engineering's sister publication Food Engineering International (Feb., '00), the Spanish company Espuna pasteurizes vacuum-packaged sliced cooked ham products under high pressure, using Hyperbar equipment supplied by the French company Alstom.