DANBURY, Conn., March 6, 2003 — Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) today announced an agreement with Sun Orchard, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona, to install the first Praxair® Better Than Fresh™non-thermal processing system for juice. Sun Orchard will use the patented Praxair system to produce fresh tasting orange juice for the retail industry as an alternative to traditional heat pasteurization. The Better Than Fresh™system, when installed at Sun Orchard’s Florida facility in the second quarter of 2003, will process juice on a continuous line flow at a rate of 40 gallons per minute.
Juice is commonly treated through the use of heat pasteurization. Heating to high temperature kills microorganisms but can alter the natural juice taste. The Praxair system utilizes dense-phase carbon dioxide to kill microorganisms and achieve at least a 5–log reduction of pathogens. This pathogen reduction meets the FDA HACCP guidelines for juice production. Since there is no high heat application, the juice retains its natural flavor and nutrients.
"We are excited to be the first to produce fresh tasting juice using the Praxair system," says Marc Isaacs, CEO and president of Sun Orchard. "This new process will enable us to provide the retail industry with a high quality alternative to the NFC and fresh juices currently found in the dairy and produce departments. This product allows the retailer to satisfy the consumers’ desire for something new and different in the juice category. We can now offer the retail marketplace fresh tasting juice that meets the FDA regulations without heat pasteurization. Sun Orchard is honored to be working with Praxair, a recognized leader in the development of alternative technology for the food and beverage processing industries, to produce this new product category", Isaacs concluded.
"The excellent taste of juice processed with the Better Than Fresh™technology was demonstrated in three independent sensory panels that compared juice treated with our system to that of fresh squeezed," comments Sam Johnston, Praxair business development manager. "In all cases, no difference could be detected. We are very pleased to be able to work with a company of the caliber of Sun Orchard and look forward to seeing their new juice product in the marketplace."
Sun Orchard, Inc. is a privately held company that specializes in the manufacture and national distribution of premium citrus juices, lemonades, bar and margarita mixes with a primary focus on the food-service industry. Sun Orchard has two, year round manufacturing facilities (Tempe, Arizona and Haines City, Florida) and one seasonal facility (Strathmore, California) allowing the company to meet the preferred citrus taste profile of their customers. For more information about Sun Orchard, please call: (480) 966-1770.
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2002 sales of $5.1 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com.