A technology for identifying potential failures in high pressure processing (HPP) has been developed by Chromatic Technologies (CTI). Unlike existing solutions, BlindSpotz HPP verification technology can check packs at an individual unit level.

HPP is continuing to grow in popularity as consumers increasingly demand foods with natural flavours and free of preservatives. However, traditionally it has not been possible to inspect individual packages to identify where the HPP process might have failed.

Identifying an individual failed package has significant economic advantages versus eliminating an entire run of prepared foods following the vessel exposure to the HPP process.

CTI’s second generation BlindSpotz HPP verification technology can differentiate between packages processed at 70K psi, 80K psi and 87K psi. The technology also identifies short cycles such as packages at 87K psi for less than one minute.

A typical protein or juice product is processed through HPP at 87K psi for three minutes. Failure to hit that target pressure results in substantial risk of harmful contamination. BlindSpotz HPP verification technology prints a clear message/image and then a blue colour appears when the proper target is reached.

To make it easy to use in a production environment, a reference colour is used for comparison. If the HPP verification ink is lighter than the reference colour, the package is easily identified as ‘failed’ in the HPP process. For more rigorous or automated systems, the precision of a ‘vision system’ is used to measure the colour to ensure an objective analysis instead of human eyes.

“Customers pushed us hard for a smart, affordable technology that could validate the initiation of the kill step of the most dangerous bacteria during the HPP process. This makes it easy to identify, at the individual package level, if something failed,” said Lyle Small, CTI’s founder and chief executive. “An HPP failure is a safety hand grenade waiting to explode for brands and retailers if there isn’t a simple way to identify dangerous product. The HPP machines are very smart at detecting problems, but they don’t provide the inspection of individual packages.”

There are three ways to use the HPP validation technology: an HPP badge can be used in every tote (or basket) of packages to confirm success and retained for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) records, (2) stickers can be applied to individual packages, and (3) printed on the package as part of existing printing process.

HydroFresh, an HPP toller from Delphos, Ohio (USA) has made the technology available to its customers.

“HydroFresh has been an early tester of CTI’s BlindSpotz HPP validation technology. We will now offer our customers the option of validation tote badges as an added layer of quality and safety,” said Hydro Fresh’s president Don Klausing. “The difference between good quality and greatservice is providing HPP validation of quality and safety at the individual package or tote level. Hydro Fresh seeks to be the best HPP toller in the business by providing total transparency to our customers.The BlindSpotz technology is deployed across the protein, juice, sauce product lines overseas in Chile, France, Spain, Mexico as well as within the US.