What microbiological infections can occur if food powders are not properly handled and stored?
Food powders can be contaminated with different types of micro-organisms if they are not properly handled and stored. Microbiological infections that can be associated with food powders include
- Contamination by bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus.
- Contamination by moulds such as Aspergillus and Penicillium, which can produce potentially dangerous toxins.
- Contamination by yeasts, which can grow in carbohydrate and protein-rich powders, such as milk powders and protein powders.
These micro-organisms can grow in food powders if they are stored under inappropriate conditions, such as high temperatures or excessive humidity. They can also be introduced into powders during the manufacturing process, transport or handling.
Which industrial pasteurisation treatment to use to treat contaminated food powders while maintaining its intrinsic qualities?
The industrial pasteurisation treatment commonly used to treat contaminated powders while preserving their intrinsic qualities is known as steam pasteurisation.
This method involves exposing the powder to steam at high temperature for a set period of time, usually between 5 and 30 minutes, to kill the pathogens while minimising the degradation of the organoleptic properties of the powder.
Steam pasteurisation is particularly effective in killing bacteria, moulds and yeasts present in the powder. This method is also used to pasteurise other types of food and ingredients, as it is considered a gentle method that preserves the organoleptic quality of the food.
However, it is important to note that steam pasteurisation can affect the properties of powders in different ways, such as changing colours, textures and flavours. This is why it is important to work with expert and qualified suppliers who use the best pasteurisation practices to ensure the quality and safety of the powder.