Massey investigating novel food technology

Massey investigating novel food technology

Massey University researchers are investigating whether establishing an Innovation Centre focused on a novel food processing technology could transform New Zealand’s food industry. The University will host representatives from American-based company 915 Labs, which has commercialised the product, at a workshop on the Manawatū campus tomorrow. They will be joined by more than 50 representatives from major food companies, researchers, scientists and Government at the day-long workshop.

The Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) and Microwave Assisted Pasturerisation (MAPS) technology was originally developed by Washington State University over a 10-year period, funded by the US government and a wide range of food companies. 915 Labs holds the exclusive, worldwide license to the technology.

MATS uses microwaves to speed up the heating process for packaged foods, essentially combining a continuous retort with a microwave. By reducing the cooking time, food quality can be significantly improved without compromising food safety or shelf life. It also provides an extended shelf-life on heat sensitive products like fish and vegetables that previously have adversely affected by thermal treatment.

MAPS is similar to MATS but operates with lower temperatures and shorter heating times required for pasturerisation. In the MAPS system, packaged foods and beverages are heated simultaneously with hot water and microwave energy to a temperature of 70-90°C for 2-10 minutes, eliminating viral and bacterial pathogens.

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