An industry pilot programme led by Otago University looking into waste reduction and energy saving has been started on June 27th. An Elea PEF unit has been commissioned at the McCain Foods plant in Washdyke.
‚McCain Australia/New Zealand director John Jackson said the Washdyke plant was looking to invest $2m in the technology.
The Washdyke operation employed about 130 people and processed 150,000 tonnes of potatoes annually, he said.
The PEF processing affected the cell membrane so it could be used to enhance the extraction of pigments or bioactive compounds from potatoes, increasing their yield and quality or to kill micro-organisms as an alternative to the pasteurisation process.
Jackson said the process was also promising in terms of combating Tomato-Potato Psyllid, which spreads disease in potatoes.’
Elea engineering manager Jimmy Kinsella shows McCain staff how the Pulsed Electric Field Technology (PEF) machine works.