From left, UGA FoodPIC Director Jim Gratzek displays the front and back of a bottled sample of the minimally processed Georgia-made satsuma orange juice. (Photo by Ashley Biles)

If you’ve ever wished that the orange juice you buy from the grocery store tasted like you squeezed it yourself — and stayed fresh at home — you may be interested in an electrifying project at the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) on the University of Georgia Griffin campus.

Food technology company Food Physics is working with FoodPIC scientists to perfect a technique known as pulsed electric field technology (PEF). An alternative to thermal pasteurization for processing food products, PEF uses short bursts of high voltage —15,000 volts per centimeter (V/cm) — to inactivate any harmful bacteria that may be found in the product.

“The idea is to have a product taste as close as possible to fresh-squeezed, but be safe and have a commercially feasible shelf life,” said Jim Gratzek, director of FoodPIC.

Steve Hellenschmidt, of Food Physics, and Gratzek, of FoodPIC, show off the pulsed electric field, or PEF, processed orange juice samples made at FoodPIC at UGA-Griffin. (Photo by Ashley Biles)

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