Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environment, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed a process to kill germs on almonds and nuts by using compressed carbon dioxide to decontaminate food.
The advantage of this process is that almonds retain their characteristic flavor and quality, according to the research report. Almonds are decontaminated and impregnated with antimicrobial oils using compressed carbon dioxide in a high-pressure autoclave. The oil extract coats the almond, making it difficult for germs to contaminate the fruit again. Some types of processing can affect the quality of food, particularly that of plant-based products that are consumed raw.
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.