Written by Tyler R. Etter
In August of 2015, the Almond Board of California’s Technical Expert Review Panel approved a new chemical-free pasteurization process to eliminate pathogens such as salmonella. The process was created by RF Biocidics for the Ready Roast Nut Company.
The need for pasteurization of almonds arose with outbreaks of salmonella in the years of 2001 and 2004 from unpasteurized almonds. However, the current chemical process using propylene oxide cannot be used for organic almonds. The CEO of RF Biocidics considers the process to be a breakthrough not only for the company, but also for the industry as a whole, due to the non-chemical nature of the process.
Traditionally the pasteurization process has used steam treatments or chemical processes such as propylene oxide usage, but these processes can impact the nutritional qualities of the product. The APEX system designed by RF Biocidics uses a process called “volumetric heating” that utilizes radio waves to increase the metabolism of the cells, killing bacteria, molds, and other pests and pathogens.
The APEX machines start at $1 million, with a base processing level of 2,000 to 3,000 pounds per hour.