5 log kill step : soon a standard requirement for all tree nuts ?
Considered less risky because of their low moisturecontent in the past, nuts are now in the spotlight of quality assurance teams. Salmonella intoxications linked to almonds produced in California in the early 2000s have been a paradigm which has led the major players in the sector to rethink their risk analyzes. As a result, they increased the number of samples on their batches and found that the risk of pathogens on tree nuts (and any other natural dry food product) was much higher than they imagined.
Today, all raw almonds sold on the American market are systematically heat treated according to prescriptions of the Almond Board of California requiring a 5 log reduction of salmonella strains for pasteurization processes.
The global nuts market is impacted by this strategic decision. The risk becomes more and more unacceptable because the producers of American almonds have demonstrated that prevention is possible, both technically and economically : in case of a scandal, brands can no longer argue the lack of knowledge or a lack of solutions to protect themselves, and are thus more exposed than ever. 5 log kill step : soon a standard requirement for all tree nuts ?
At least two of the largest European players in the manufacture and distribution of nuts blends have already opted for systematic heat treatment of their products.
They also retained the value of 5 log reduction for the validation of their kill step. In doing so, they set a new safety standard for the European market that is likely to spread throughout the whole tree nut industry.
Both use the vacuum saturated steam injection process, one via Steripure’s services, the other having invested into in-house pasteurization lines with the same technology. A choice which is dictated by this treatment’s unique ability of combining efficient germ reduction with conservation of all the original fruit’s organoleptic qualities.