A process to kill germs on almonds and nuts by using compressed carbon dioxide to decontaminate food has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environment, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT.
According to the research report, the advantage of this process is that almonds retain their characteristic flavor and quality. Almonds are decontaminated and impregnated with antimicrobial oils using compressed carbon dioxide in a high-pressure autoclave.
Without processing, almonds and other nuts may be contaminated with salmonella and these bacteria can spread to dry foods. Low-moisture foods like flour, baking mixes, dried meats, nuts, fruits and cereals are often used as ingredients in food products with almonds, which means that if one supplier faces a recall, many items that used the ingredient could be affected. However, the risk of E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria in dry foods can never be completely eliminated.
Carbon dioxide is not harmful to the environment or health and can be separated from almonds without a trace of residuals, according to researchers. This does not involve any energy-intensive steps for purification.