Processing aids used in food production can decrease the risk of E.coli infections, according to Food Safety News. While E.coli occurrence can be significantly reduced during processing, some methods may be better choices than others.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not tolerate any of the seven strains of E.coli appearing in food, but it can be difficult to remove toxins from food before it reaches consumers without changing the appearance or taste. A food processing aid is something used in production that is not present in the end consumer product, the source said. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture approve certain methods for use in meat, poultry and other products, but aids cannot alter taste in any way or have a negative impact on food safety. Since processing aids are considered food additives, they must be safe, even though they are not listed as ingredients.
Not all processing aids are chemical-based. Hot water and steam can effectively reduce E.coli in beef production and do not leave a lasting impact on the product. High-pressure washing of lunch meats significantly decreased the risk of listeriosis infections, according to the source. However, not all food products can rely on these methods.
Although only insignificant amount of processing aids remain in food in the consumer product market, companies need to be aware of how people view chemicals. Consumer demand is the primary driver of food risk management processes, according to a study from DNV Business Assurance. Many organizations consider the needs of consumers to prevent food risk from traveling downstream. Another way food producers mitigate risk is by creating higher quality products. U.S. companies are particularly concerned with the financial implications of quality and safety risks in their products.