Harmless Harvest bounces back from FDA warning with new micro-filtration process for coconut water

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Harmless Harvest's new multi-step micro-filtration process preserves flavor, nutrients, and fragrance of its coconut water, CEO Giannella Alvarez said.
Harmless Harvest's new multi-step micro-filtration process preserves flavor, nutrients, and fragrance of its coconut water, CEO Giannella Alvarez said.

Related tags: Coconut water

In April 2016, Harmless Harvest launched its new Multi-Step Micro-Filtration process, in response to an FDA-issued warning letter in late 2015.

The new system is now being used to produce coconut water.

Harmless Harvest temporarily suspended its bottling facilities in late 2015 after the FDA asked company to upgrade its quality and food safety approach for processing its coconut water.

The new method offers a safe and more effective alternative to thermal pasteurization of coconut water, which “just wasn’t an option for us,”​ Harmless Harvest CEO Giannella Alvarez said in a letter on the Harmless Harvest’s website.

Heat pasteurization depletes nutrients and leaves a burnt-like taste, according to the company.

Alavarez was not able to share exactly how the new filtration process worked when asked by BeverageDaily but did say, “It’s like any other filtration system that lets the good stuff (like nutrients and great taste) through; while keeping the bad stuff (like bacteria) out.

“We don’t believe that coconut water has to be cooked and boiled to be safe.”

Improved taste

Currently, the primary industry method of ensuring the safety of low-acid juice beverages like coconut water is thermal pasteurization.  Thermal pasteurization is known to heavily heat the product as a way to regulate safety, but it can leave a modified, burnt-like taste when used on coconut water.

“This new process allows us to safely maintain the integrity of the coconut water, never ‘cooking’ or boiling away the sweet and nutty flavor,” ​Alvarez said. 

“So it tastes like a freshly cracked coconut.”

Full-circle sustainability

According to Alvarez, the new microfiltration process has allowed Harmless Harvest to use approximately 24% less plastic in its bottles.

Harmless Harvest coconut water is also Fair for Life certified, ensuring that the company is engaging in recognized fair trade practices.

“We maintain strong relationships with our farmers and workers by ensuring they receive fair wages and equitable working conditions,”​ Alvarez said.

“We chose Fair for Life certification to share the welfare we create through our chain of custody, from plant to farmers and workers to partners. It’s our way of feeding the world while caring for the planet.”

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