Innovative Food Engineering - a Century of Change

25 Nov 2011

The past 100 years has seen a revolution in food process engineering. Substantial advances have been achieved in all aspects of food processing from raw ingredient preparation through to final packaging. Dr Paul Skudder, Global R&D Director, SPX Flow Corporation, discussed this important but often overlooked subject in the Seligman Lecture on 24 Nov at SCI HQ.

Back in the 1900's the primary mechanism of food preservation was canning. There was no continuous pasteurisation of milk, aseptic processing and packaging, extrusion or homogenisation. Operation of plant was labour- intensive and processing plant had no in-place cleaning mechanisms.

The founder of APV, Dr Richard Seligman (more information) was a pioneer in the industry. The plate heat exchanger he invented in 1924 was applied to the continuous pasteurisation of milk, and helped in the control of tuberculosis.

As we continue to innovate in food engineering, our future challenges become one of sustainability - minimising the impact of food processing on the environment in respect of waste, energy and water. This has led to the application of membrane technology to recover food components from waste streams and even the on-site generation of Clean in Place (CIP) and sanitisation chemicals through the electrolysis of salt.

This presentation highlighted some of the major advances that have been made in the industry since 1900.

Paul Skudder has been active in the development of new technology in the dairy and processed food industry for nearly 40 years. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Bacteriology and Biochemistry in 1972 and started his career at the National Institute for Research in Dairying where he completed his Ph.D on the application of reverse osmosis for the concentration of milk.

In 1985, Paul joined APV International where he was responsible for several innovations such as ohmic heating for sterilisation of particulate foods, fractionation of whey proteins and high heat treatment of milk and baby food formulations. Currently, Paul is the Global R&D Director within the Flow Technology Segment of the global SPX Corporation which acquired APV in 2008.

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