ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Four exhibitors at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo were honored Sunday morning for the development of innovative technologies. The four companies include Ecolab Inc., EnWave Corp., the National Center for Food Safety and Technology and National Starch Food Innovation.

Ecolab Inc. garnered the 2009 IFT Food Expo Innovation Award for its peroxyacetic acid-based commercial sterilant, which sterilizes plastic bottles at lower temperatures than hydrogen peroxide, thereby reducing energy. It also mitigates bottle shrinkage and peroxide residuals.

EnWave Corp. won the award for its nutraREV dehydration technology. The radiant energy vacuum technology delivers rapid, low-temperature dehydration of fruits, vegetables, snack foods, and herbs. It uses less than one-third the energy of freeze drying with one-sixth the capital cost.

National Center for Food Safety & Technology was honored for its pressure-assisted thermal sterilization, a Food and Drug Administration-accepted processing technology that combines mild heat with high pressure to produce commercially sterile low-acid food products with equivalent or better quality than frozen foods.

National Starch Food Innovation was honored for its Novation starches, which may be used to manufacture products such as salad dressings with texture attributes and process tolerance that were only possible with modified food starches. The starches are labeled as corn starch on the ingredient statement.

A panel of eight jurors from industry, academia, and government with expertise in research and product development, processing and packaging technology, and food safety selected the four companies and their innovations from 49 qualified entries. Only companies exhibiting at the 2009 I.F.T. Food Expo were eligible. Judging criteria included degree of innovation, technical advancement, benefits to food manufacturers and consumers, and scientific merit.