Poultry packer puts pressure on deli meat bacteria

An Ontario poultry processor has launched a new high-pressure processing system designed to protect its deli meats against bacteria such as listeria.

Maple Lodge Farms of Brampton said in a release Wednesday that it’s the first poultry processor in the country to invest in the SafeSure high pressure processing (HPP) system specifically for its deli products.

HPP also offers “fresher taste and longer shelf life for Maple Lodge Farms’ products when compared to food which has undergone conventional food-preservation techniques,” the company said.

Most importantly, though, the company said, using HPP in processed and packaged deli products leads to “the disabling of pathogens such as listeria,
salmonella and E. coli, as well as bacteria that cause food spoilage.”

HPP, when used on foods such as deli meats, exposes them to “extraordinary pressures” of about 87,000 pounds per square inch for a short period of time.

By comparison, the deepest trench in the ocean exerts 16,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, “which can crush most living creatures and a submarine hull,” Maple Lodge said.

The pressure “disables virtually any potentially existing spoilage organism or illness-causing bacteria found within the product and package” and not just those on the surface, the company said, but HPP leaves molecules, such as vitamins and the compounds giving meats their flavour, intact.

”Implemented as the last step in the process, SafeSure virtually eradicates most potential pathogens before the products leave the plant. Because these products are processed in their packaging, there is absolutely no risk of
recontamination as long as the packaging remains intact,” the company said.

U.S., European and Japanese processors have already been using HPP on deli meats and other foods, according to Avure Technologies, the Seattle-area firm that developed the Maple Lodge system. Other HPP foods include fruit juices and smoothies, guacamole, oysters and salsa, Avure vice-president Glenn Hewson said in Maple Lodge’s release.

In Canada, Maple Leaf Foods says it was an “early adopter” of what it calls Ultra High Pressure (UHP) technology and began using it in its Simply Fresh entree products “more than two years ago,” Maple Leaf’s chief food safety officer Randy Huffman said on that company’s food safety blog Wednesday.

”We are also now using this technology in a number of other products,” Huffman wrote, adding that the company is now exploring the use of UHP and other processes for foods such as deli meats.


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