In the field of food safety, hurdle technology is a method of ensuring the safety of foods by eliminating or controlling the growth of pathogens. It is a gentle and effective preservation technique used for the inactivation of microorganisms to make food safe for public consumption and extend their shelf life.
It uses an intelligent combination of hurdles to produce safe, stable, nutritious, tasty, and economic foods. Hurdles are food preservation factors, which are combined and adjusted to achieve food quality and microbial stability, in terms of temperature, pH, redox potential, water activity, preservatives, and competitive microorganisms.
How Hurdle Technology Works
Hurdles can be classified based on their function, nature, and their types. They are commonly classified into physical, physiochemical, and microbial parameters. Today, more than sixty hurdles are known to influence food stability, quality, and microbial stability.
Not all hurdles are combined, nor are they all used to preserve one food product. The effect that a hurdle has on the food depends on the intensity, which affects the microbial stability and means the intensity needs to increase, while if the hurdle affects the food quality the intensity needs to decrease.
To preserve food using hurdle technology, it is necessary to create a hostile environment for microorganisms. This environment can either cause the death of microorganisms or slow down their growth, largely depending on how microorganisms react to the treatment.
The use of only a single technology may cause damage to microorganisms that they may recover from during food storage. However, if this recovery is effectively prevented by using a combination of additional hurdles, the microbial cells will not be able to grow, and higher inactivation levels could be reached. In this respect, most of the current research studies are focused on high-power ultrasound, pulsed electric field, and high-pressure processing.
As consumers pay more attention to food processing, preservation, and the quality of food, the requirements by manufacturers and food businesses on food safety continue to grow. The need to reduce food spoilage and eliminate wastage means businesses need to ensure their production processes abide by global standards.
This is where DKSH can provide the right food safety solutions for businesses and their customers. Whether it is water activity equipment, reflectometer, polarimeter, densimeter, pH meter, or other critical food microbiology solutions, we have the available tools and expertise to help your business keep your food products safe.
Potchara Sungtong is the Director, Food and Beverage for DKSH Thailand overseeing the Asia Pacific region. With a background in food science and microbiology, he has over 20 years of experience in research and development, sales and marketing, channel management, and business development in food and beverages. Potchara has extensive knowledge in food safety, customer requirements, laboratory workflows, and lab efficiencies.