"Tasker's pHarlo technology is a totally new and unique process that could revolutionise the food processing industry," the company said. " As such, the USDA is meticulouslyexamining its potential to validate benefits in food safety."
The technology is already approved for use during the processing of seafood and eggs. Tasker also said yesterday it expects to completethe acquisition of pHarlo Citrus Technology, Indian River Labs and Coast to Coast over the next few weeks.
" Achieving USDA approval for the use of pHarlo in the scalde of poultry processing is a major step for Tasker in its entry in the food processing industry," the company said.
Coast to Coast Laboratories is a developer and marketer of the pHarlo technology as various products. Coast to Coast's Unifresh foodbath is used as a footbath concentrate to control bacteria and fungus that invade the hooves of cows andcattle.
The successful completion of the commercial trials of pHarlo at the Athens, Georgia poultry plant is expected to result in final authorisation for the company to begin selling the technologythroughout the US. The company's pHarlo technology is intended for use during the scalding process at poultry factories. The trial is expected to last five weeks.
The agriculture department is allowing the poultry plant to sell the processed birds for public consumption during the trial period. Once full authorisation is given for a rollout of the product,Tasker plans to apply for permission to use pHarlo for processing other food products, including meat , fruit and vegetables.
Rasker's pHarlo is a patented process that uses a highly charged, acidified solution that allows copper sulfate to remain active under a wide range of conditions. Copper sulfate is bacteriostatic,which refers to its ability to inhibit the reproduction of bacteria.
The technology was approved earlier this year by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with seafood and egg processing. The technology is used to remove pathogens during the egg washing. TheFDA stated that the company's egg process product consisted of ingredients that were either generally recognised as safe or were food additives. The process also uses soybean oil and purified water.
Tasker said it will continuing its clinical research and development of future products in the oral care, food processing, skin care and pet products markets. Currently Tasker markets Close Call,an anti-microbial oral hygiene breath drink that can be swallowed.
Coast to Coast and its affiliated companies, pHarlo Citrus Technologies, the creator of the pHarlo technology, and Indian River Labs, the blender of pHarlo concentrate, have agreed to sell certain assets to Tasker in a stock and cash transaction. Aspart of the proposed acquisition, Tasker will secure the rights to sell the technology to a number of new product markets, including for pre-harvest food processing and for water treatment.
Coast to Coast also announced yesterday it has entered into a co-marketing agreement with Walco International, a provider of animal health products and services, to sell its Unifresh foodbathproduct. Coast to Coast's management projects to achieve $25m (€20.6m) in annually revenue under the agreement.
Tasker had a net loss of about $3.3m for the quarter ended 31 March 2005 compared to a net loss of about $258,000 in the same quarter last year. At 31 March this year the company reported anaccumulated deficit of about $11.1m.
Tasker's pHarlo technology creates an environment in which hydrogen protons attach to a single copper ion, suspending the copper ion indefinitely in a liquid state. In this state of suspension, copper interferes with the cellular growth of anaerobic andother organisms by interfering with the bacteria's respiration. The solution uses only ingredients that are on the federal GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) list.
Tasker says the technology can be used to treat animals, feed, pens, waste and water for bacteria reduction prior to slaughter.
"The company believes that this technology is highly synergistic with the current food processing technology for poultry, meat and seafood," Tasker said in a filing with the US Securitiesand Exchange Commission. "In order to complete the loop and have the ability to control pathogens on cooked food and plant and equipment, the company is reviewing a variety of technologies, including developing a derivative of the pHarlotechnology."
Initially the company focused on listeria, due to the lack of any known process to treat these bacteria. The technology is designed to eradicate biofilms, a protective coating that forms on listeria and other pathogens making them resistant to traditional remedies of eradicating bacteria.
Tasker also began selling its oral hygiene drink, Close Call, during the first quarter of 2005. Close Call is being marketed as the world's first clinically proven anti-microbial oral hygiene breath drink that eliminates odors from tobacco, garlic, onion and alcoholand removes germs and bacteria that cause bad breadth. The company began shipping Close Call on 24 February 2005 and sold about 44,400 bottles by 31 March 2005, generating $60,875 in net revenue.