Freeze-drying is a scientific art, combining science and controlled process to result in beautifully preserved food. It retains the most nutrients than any other food preservation method, and maintains its color and flavor. Freeze-drying is also one of the safest methods of food handling used today.
Mercer Foods is SQF 2000 Level 3 certified, with systems in place to quickly monitor any breach in our production lifecycle. Our investment in food safety and quality management ensures our facilities and products are in compliance with all allergen programs and sanitation requirements.
Food safety in freeze-drying starts with our tightly managed process chain. Before fruits and vegetables even make it to lyophilization, the scientific name for the freeze-drying process, they’re handled for extreme safety and compliance.
Food safety cycle
First, Mercer Foods ingredients are harvested and inspected. They’re cleaned uniformly, prior to being sent to Mercer Foods for processing. Within six hours of being harvested, our fruits and vegetables are frozen. The cleaning process happens within this time frame. Freeze-dried foods start the lyophilization process clean and frozen. While freeze-drying science isn’t considered a microbial kill step, it does contribute to the reduction of microorganisms.
Once the food is frozen, all the liquid and water within the product is solid. In the scientific step of sublimation, the solid frozen liquid is turned into vapor using a combination of time and pressure. With a controlled heat, the vapor is then forced out of the fruit or vegetable as a gas.
Collectively, all of the steps — harvesting, cleaning, and freeze-drying — all work to provide safe and clean food, that’s ready to use. Consumers are more educated than ever, and they demand clean and safe ingredients. Our process at Mercer ensures clear communication between each step, and provides transparency to our customers.
Freeze-dried food is ready to use
In the food service environment, freeze-dried products require no further handling. They’re ready to eat or be incorporated into products and recipes. In contrast, frozen foods may need to be thawed, then cut, sliced, or diced. Proper thawing measures can stave off pathogen multipliers, but bacteria flourish at room temperature. Fresh fruits and vegetables must be cleaned and then prepared. Safe food handling is imperative in this step.
Freeze-dried food can help you deliver clean ingredients to consumers. Not only are freeze-dried products easy and versatile, they have a long shelf life and add unique flavor and texture to your new or existing products.
If you’d like to find out more about any of our food safety programs or certifications, we’d love to connect. Get in touch with us or reach out via LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more, and discover how we can work together for your freeze-drying needs.