Development Of Shelf-Stable Puree Protein For Dysphagia Patients
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
RUBICON FOODS LLC
10936 HAMILTON PASS, Fishers, IN, 46037
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractDysphagia is a disruption in the normal ability to chew and swallow food and drink beverages. This condition is commonly caused by stroke, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases, or radiation therapy due to cancer. For those with medical conditions that cause dysphagia, they are unable to break down, manipulate, collect, and swallow the food that is in their mouth. For most of these patients, all food items must be pureed into a "pudding" or "mashed potato" consistency to avoid choking hazards, defined by the American Dietetic Association as Level 1 Puree. Unfortunately, the physical and chemical effects of pureeing food causes flavor, texture, and other changes that make the food less appetizing and, therefore, less likely to be consumed. These effects on an individual's appetite can have adverse consequences on the medically fragile patient who suffers from dysphagia. Current scratch recipes and available products from manufacturers are of marginal acceptability. No company has yet effectively addressed this unmet need. Rubicon's Simply Puree Proteins will feature the following: Improved flavor and aesthetic characteristics Safe texture High nutrient, lower mass density Solving the Retort/Flavor Challenge Shelf-stable formulation Affordable pricing Meeting or exceeding these featured requirements will translate into a growing, profitable product line that has the following expected benefits: Expected Benefits It is anticipated that these improved characteristics will greatly enhance normal food consumption by patients with Dysphagia. This will decrease their risk of choking and aspiration pneumonia, as well as improve their nutritional intake, thereby improving their resistance to infection and other diseases. Increased normal food consumption will also reduce reliance on supplemental nutrition, thereby reducing cost pressures on facility budgets. Methodology Rubicon's food science professionals will be working with two strategic partners, Park 100 Foods and Ameriqual, and leverage their know-how and technology to address this unmet need. Phase 1 development will begin on a pork-based protein. Park 100 has expertise in pureeing food, while Ameriqual has strengths in the retort manufacturing process, two important aspects of this development. A product formulation will be created that will then be tested under conditions similar to what will be experienced in a full production environment and then a food service kitchen. Nursing home customers that have expressed a strong desire for a similar product will then have an opportunity to provide critical feedback. Upon successful completion, phase 2 development will proceed to finish a complete line of meat proteins ready for commercialization. Rubicon Foods has successfully introduced puree carbohydrates, such as puree breads, pasta, and rice to the nursing home industry. They intend to leverage this customer base and logistical channel to offer these complementary products to the market.
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