Flow International Corp. (Kent, Wash.) announced in June that Odwalla, Inc. has committed to large-scale use of Flow's Fresher Under Pressure UHP (ultra-high pressure) technology to replace thermal treatment for a large segment of its "super-premium" fruit and vegetable juices. UHP destroys pathogens and spoilage organisms in fresh foods and juices without compromising taste, texture or nutritional value. Odwalla currently flash-pasteurizes its juices.
Odwalla, which last year installed a Flow continuous system for small-scale UHP juice production at its plant in Dinuba, Cal., has ordered four additional Flow continuous UHP systems, each consisting of four vessels. (For configuration of a Flow continuous UHP system, see Food Engineering July/Aug. '00). According to Odwalla CEO Stephen Williamson, "this process will significantly increase the shelf life of our juice, expanding our reach while improving our distribution logistics."
Odwalla last year acquired juice manufacturer Fresh Samantha, Inc. and plans to relocate Fresh Samantha production from its current location in Saco, Maine to a new plant in southern Florida scheduled for startup later this year. Food Engineering was unable to confirm at press time if any of the new UHP lines will be installed at Fresh Samantha.
UHP is rapidly gaining acceptance by food processors as an effective method to destroy pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella on meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetable products. Companies currently using Flow's process on a commercial scale include Hormel, Perdue, Motavatit Seafoods, Avomex and several others in the U.S., Jumex in Mexico and OYSA Ltd. in Australia.
On July 2, Flow announced that juice processor Orchard House Foods is the first U.K. manufacturer to install Fresher Under Pressure and is introducing UHP-processed orange juice this month (July). According to Orchard House Sales & Marketing Director Andrew King, UHP does not affect the natural taste of the orange juice, and extends its refrigerated shelf life from nine to 21 days.