India's nut export industry is booming, but there are concerns about the effectiveness of nut pasteurization. Laitram Machinery provides insights into the challenges and benefits of nut pasteurization for Indian nut exporters.
Laitram's nut pasteurization technology has been proven on nuts, including almonds, pistachios, seeds, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans.
Hot water treatment is a commonly used method for pasteurizing tree nuts. Still, ensuring that the nuts reach the required temperature and time to kill harmful bacteria can be challenging. This has led to questions about the effectiveness of hot water treatment for nut pasteurization. Hot water treatment alone may not transfer enough heat to reach the desired temperature throughout the nut.
Alternative methods, such as dry heat steam pasteurization, are used for nuts to ensure effective pasteurization. These methods can achieve the necessary temperature and duration to eliminate pathogens while minimizing any potential impact on the quality of the nuts. By achieving Log 5+ validation, nut processors can show that their products meet these standards and are safe to eat.
There have been multi-city Salmonella outbreaks on Nuts industry which leads to strict Food safety compliance. In 2020, a multi-country outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and S. Anatum infections linked to Brazil nuts was reported. In 2016, an outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Senftenberg infections linked to pistachios was reported. In 2011, an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to Turkish pine nuts was reported. After facing various foods Borne illness, export businesses strictly follow Pasteurization to ensure product safety and avoid recalls. Surface pasteurization treatment for tree nuts is becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide due to factors such as responsible business practices, liability mitigation, and regulatory compliance. In the USA, federal law mandates pasteurization of almonds. The European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit and Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products, Spices, Honey and Similar Foodstuffs (FRUCOM) and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) also follows strict rules which importing dry nuts.
India is the world's largest consumer and exporter of cashew nuts among all other treenuts. The value addition and e-commerce platforms have further boosted the growth of local consumption of cashew nuts worldwide. The sweet and confectionery industry, and the hotel, restaurant, and catering (HORECA) segments also drive the demand. The sudden growth in import and export of dry nuts has led Indian nut processors to consider pasteurization technologies. They understand the importance of eliminating harmful microorganisms like Salmonella and E. coli. However, processors are concerned about compromising the organoleptic and nutritional quality of the nuts.