Food Safety Garners Increased Attention With Mounting Contamination Cases

NEW YORK, June 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Foodborne illnesses have become a major concern within the food industry due to the number of outbreaks every year. In 2018, the most common foodborne illnesses were salmonella, E. coli, shigella and vibrio. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reported that each year roughly 1 in every 6 Americans (48 million people) get sick from foodborne illnesses. Moreover, in serious cases, 128,000 are hospitalized, while 3,000 ultimately die due to the severity of the illness. However, companies within the food pathogen testing market have been developing new technology and safety methods in order to ensure quality for consumers. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ensures quality checks for produce being imported into the country. Last year, the agency conducted a test on basil, parsley, cilantro, guacamole, and avocado for contaminants. As of early 2018, the FDA gathered 35 domestic samples and 104 import samples. Out of the domestic samples, none tested positive, but out of the import samples, certain ones tested positive for salmonella and E. coli., according to the FDA. While meats and vegetables are recipients of particular focus within the food safety marketspace, the dairy industry is one of the major causes of foodborne illnesses. Primarily, the dairy industry is expected to witness the largest expansion due to the totaling number of illnesses caused by spoiled or unpasteurized products. Government agencies have continuously stressed the importance of food safety to prevent illnesses as every single illness cannot be prevented, however, advanced technologies and safety measures have been able to curb the spread of pathogens before an outbreak occurs. According to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets research, the global food safety testing market was valued at USD 17.0 Billion in 2018. By 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 24.6 Billion while accelerating at a CAGR of 7.7%. Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTC: PBIO), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), Owens & Minor, Inc. (NYSE: OMI), Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS).

E. coli is one of the most common foodborne illnesses because it can be found within meats and vegetables, according to the CDC. Typically, E. coli is found in the intestines of people and animals and can occur naturally in the environment. E. coli is mainly spread through contaminated food and contact with humans or animals. Most types are harmless and are actually part of a healthy intestinal tract. However, some cases can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, and bloodstream infections. While E. coli predominantly occurs within animals or the environment, it can affect other food sources such as raw milk or dairy products through direct contamination. In 2017, the CDC reported that raw milk and cheese products caused approximately 96% of foodborne illnesses linked to contaminated products in that year. Moreover, another common illness is listeria infection. While listeria isn't as common as E. coli, it is much more deadly. In the U.S., the CDC reported that approximately 1,600 people get sick from listeria each year and about 260 die. Specifically, unborn and newborn babies are the most vulnerable to listeria. Additionally, consumers with weakened immune systems are also at high risk of developing life-threatening complications. As a result, high-pressure processing (HPP) equipment is often used within the food industry to protect foods from contamination. HPP is a cold pasteurization method by which the final product is sealed in its final packaging and subjected to a high level of static pressure transmitted by water, according to Brand Essence Market Research. The packaging helps the product last longer on the shelves, promotes natural and eco-friendly processing method, and most importantly, prevents foodborne illnesses. "HPP's future is bright, with new uses on the horizon. These new uses have already resulted in new market opportunities that increase revenue. As its awareness grows among manufacturers, retailers and food service companies, and with additional education about its benefits, more companies will embrace HPP as part of their food safety program and for its shelf-life benefits. With consumer demand for fresh foods and beverages showing no signs of stopping, HPP will lead the way in helping to produce fresh, safe food and beverage products for all to enjoy," said Mark Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Pure.

Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) announced yesterday that, "its HUB platform of unique, ultra-high pressure instruments was featured in three presentations at the world's largest annual food science conference, the Institute of Food Technologists ("IFT"), which was held June 2-5, 2019 in New Orleans, LA.  The presentations reported the use of PBI's HUB440 and HUB880 Explorer systems to advance knowledge and understanding of the effects of high pressure processing ("HPP") on serious food-borne pathogens in liquid food products and ground meat, and on the decontamination of such pathogens.

Food-borne illnesses are a common, costly, and expensive public health problem. The Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") estimates that 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from contaminated food or beverages annually, and that 3,000 people will die from their illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") estimates that the cost of foodborne illnesses in the USA is more than $15.6 billion each year (

HPP subjects food products to a high level of pressure (43,500-87,000 psi) - transmitted via water - to inactivate food-borne pathogens. Pressures above 58,000 psi at ambient temperature (or lower) can inactivate bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, and parasites present in food, which helps to significantly improve food safety. HPP offers the additional benefit of longer shelf-life without chemical additives or high heat treatment. With HPP, freshness, sensory and nutritional attributes are maintained throughout shelf-life. HPP is an accepted food processing method by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Aliyar Fouladkhah, Assistant Professor at Tennessee State University ("TSU") and Director of the Public Health Microbiology Laboratory ("PHM Lab") at TSU, and his team showed in a series of studies that PBI's ultra-high pressure equipment can be used to dramatically reduce common and well-known food-borne disease causing bacteria, such as E.coli 0157 and Listeria monocytogenes, in the presence of foods such as apple cider and chopped meat.  Controlled experiments such as these may provide model systems that could result in significantly better quality and safer foods.

Dr. Fouladkhah commented: "Members of my public health microbiology research group and I were able to conduct and present results from our cutting-edge, innovative research projects to the most respected international food science conference thanks to the consistency, accuracy, and precision of PBI's HUB high pressure units and the collaborative endeavors with PBI engineers and research scientists."

Dr. Nathan Lawrence is a senior technical consultant to PBI.  Dr. Lawrence holds advanced degrees in food microbiology and molecular genetics.  Dr. Lawrence said: "PBI's bench-top ultra-high pressure HUB equipment offers great promise in HPP food applications. The special design features in the pressure and temperature control of the equipment enable scientists to safely study a myriad of food-borne pathogens. The bench-top system enables basic food safety research in the laboratory without requiring extremely expensive and large manufacturing scale HPP equipment. I believe there are many hundreds if not more academic, government, and industry laboratories that will now be able to help in the development of new methods for safe and affordable food processing with the HUB high pressure equipment."

Richard T. Schumacher, President and CEO of PBI, commented: 'The need for safer food is a world-wide concern.  In recognition, the United Nations proclaimed June 7, 2019 as the first World Food Safety Day.  HPP currently plays an important role in food safety: although this unique process is barely 20 years old, it has nonetheless already grown into an estimated $20 billion market.  By 2026, the projected market size of the high pressure processing food market could reach approximately $42 billion (Visiongain, 2016).  We believe that presentations such as Dr. Fouladkhah's at this year's IFT Conference will help generate awareness of our new, powerful yet affordable bench-top HUB family of products in the food industry, government, military, and academic laboratory environment, and that this added exposure will result in an increased demand for our HUB equipment in this large and growing market.'

Institute of Food Technologists ("IFT"): Since 1939, IFT has been advancing the application of science across the global food production and supply system, by creating a dynamic forum where individuals from industry, government, and academia spanning more than 90 countries can collaborate, learn, and grow, transforming scientific knowledge into innovative solutions for the benefit of people around the world.  The IFT Annual Meeting is the world's largest annual food science event, with over 20,000 food industry professionals in attendance.

About Pressure BioSciences, Inc: Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) is a leader in the development and sale of innovative, broadly enabling, pressure-based solutions for the worldwide life sciences industry. Our products are based on the unique properties of both constant (i.e., static) and alternating (i.e., pressure cycling technology, or PCT) hydrostatic pressure. PCT is a patented enabling technology platform that uses alternating cycles of hydrostatic pressure between ambient and ultra-high levels to safely and reproducibly control bio-molecular interactions (e.g., cell lysis, biomolecule extraction). Our primary focus is in the development of PCT-based products for biomarker and target discovery, drug design and development, biotherapeutics characterization and quality control, soil & plant biology, forensics, and counter-bioterror applications. Additionally, major new market opportunities have emerged in the use of our pressure-based technologies in the following areas: (1) the use of our recently acquired, patented technology from BaroFold, Inc. (the "BaroFold" technology) to allow entry into the bio-pharma contract services sector, and (2) the use of our recently-patented, scalable, high-efficiency, pressure-based Ultra Shear Technology ("UST") platform to (i) create stable nanoemulsions of otherwise immiscible fluids (e.g., oils and water) and to (ii) prepare higher quality, homogenized, extended shelf-life or room temperature stable low-acid liquid foods that cannot be effectively preserved using existing non-thermal technologies."

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Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), since 1971, has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Cold-pressed juice brand Evolution Fresh announced last year it will expand its functional beverage portfolio by entering the USD 1.2 Billion refrigerated tea category with the launch of new bottled Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha across seven major U.S. cities from coast to coast. Available in six delicious flavors – Ginger Lemon Honeycrisp, Mango Pineapple, Ginger Greens, Spicy Greens, Pink Grapefruit, and Turmeric Pineapple Coconut – the beverages have started to ship to grocery and natural retailers in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and New York City, with plans to roll-out to additional cities this fall and next spring. Evolution Fresh Organic Kombuchas feature the company's cold-pressed juices and will be available in 15.2 fluid ounce glass bottles. Starbucks acquired Evolution Fresh back in 2011 to make incredible nutrition widely accessible. Evolution Fresh offers cold-pressed juices, smoothies and kombucha that provide delicious nutrition to consumers. Evolution Fresh takes a different approach to crafting its cold-pressed juice – it presses and squeezes vegetables and fruits, bottles the juice cold and uses high-pressure processing (HPP) to help protect flavors and nutrients. "Evolution Fresh has a long-standing heritage in cold-pressed juice and we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to expand in the functional beverage category with the launch of Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha," said Ryan Ziegelmann, President, Evolution Fresh. "We know our consumers are looking for beverages with functional benefits, and Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha is just what they are asking for—a delicious and refreshing pick-me-up that also supports digestive wellness."

Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over USD 9 Billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. With avocado fans clamoring for more and more ways to enjoy their favorite fruit, the makers of the WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® brand dips invite avo-lovers to visit Guaclandia, its one-of-a-kind mobile exhibit dedicated to all things avocado. MegaMex Foods LLC, a joint venture between Hormel Foods Corporation and Herdez Del Fuerte, S.A. de C.V. acquired Fresherized Foods, which produces Wholly Guacamole®, Wholly Salsa® and Wholly Queso® products, back in 2011. The WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® brand is a brand of MegaMex Foods, one of the largest manufacturers of pre-prepared Mexican food across the country. A global leader in food safety, quality and innovation, the WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® brand uses High Pressure Processing (HPP) to create WHOLLY® products. In addition, each product is made with hand-scooped Hass avocados and is gluten free and kosher certified. All WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® products are available nationwide in the produce or deli section of grocery stores. "Guacamole is more than a food—it's a cultural phenomenon," said Diana Pusiri, Senior Brand Manager of the WHOLLY GUACAMOLE® brand. "Guaclandia is designed to celebrate guacamole's place in pop culture by providing guac fans with a fun and immersive avocado experience. It's an opportunity to have fun with friends and family while enjoying great tasting guacamole made with real ingredients."

Owens & Minor, Inc. (NYSE: OMI) is a global healthcare solutions company with integrated technologies, products, and services aligned to deliver significant and sustained value for healthcare providers and manufacturers across the continuum of care. Owens & Minor announced earlier last year that it had completed the acquisition of the surgical and infection prevention business of Halyard Health, Inc., on April 30th, 2018, for approximately USD 710 Million in cash, subject to certain adjustments as provided in the Amended and Restated Purchase Agreement. With the acquisition of the Halyard S&IP business, a recognized leader in its segment, Owens & Minor takes a significant step in transforming its business into a global healthcare solutions provider. This transaction expands Owens & Minor's reach into new markets around the world, develops its presence in the medical products segment, and opens new channels for growth. The acquisition will also add greater scale to Owens & Minor's existing own-brand product portfolio and help to expand the company's addressable markets.

Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS) is a biomedical products company focused in the field of blood transfusion safety. Cerus Corporation recently announced that the U.S. Department of the Navy will implement pathogen-reduction for all apheresis platelets collected at Navy Blood Donor Centers. The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) noted that with the recent history with Zika Virus, Ebola, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Babesia, emerging pathogens continue to threaten the blood supply and that the use of pathogen reduction technologies will preemptively address the risk due to emerging pathogens. All Navy Blood Donor Centers are required to implement the policy to pathogen-reduce platelet components by December 31, 2018. "We are pleased that the U.S. Navy is expanding the use of pathogen-reduction technology to treat platelet components throughout its entire blood collection system," said William 'Obi' Greenman, Cerus' President and Chief Executive Officer. "By fully adopting pathogen reduction, the U.S Navy Blood Program is providing our Nation's Sailors, Marines, and their families around the globe access to platelets with reduced risk of transfusion transmitted infection (TTI) from known and emerging pathogens."

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