Thursday, March 3, 2016

Agri-Neo Inc. improves sprouts food safety

The sprouts industry has a dismal track record for food poisonings and none of the control measures that have been tried so far appear to be working well.

That’s why Dr. Doug Powell, a specialist is food safety communications, cites sprouts as one of the riskiest foods on the market.

Robert Wong, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Agri-Neo Inc., believes he has the answer.

He came to the annual meeting of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies to talk about his innovative approach to ridding dried foods and seeds of harmful bacteria.

He said traditional approaches, such as cooking or treating with chlorine, don’t work well for seeds and products such as dried fruits.

His company’s approach uses oxidation. It leaves no residue, is “completely harmless” and won’t change flavour, colour or texture of the products being treated.

It has government approval in both Canada and the United States, he said, and “it’s as safe as it can get.”

He said 70 per cent of foods are “kill treated,” such as pasteurizing milk and cooking ready-to-eat products.

Thirty per cent are low-moisture products and need a different approach to eliminating bacteria and fungi-based food-safety challenges.

He listed seeds, sprouts, spices and dried fruits as candidates for his company’s services.