One of the great problems in making sausages and other meat or dairy products, is avoiding the commercial "easy way out" preservation technique of adding nitrites. Recently work has started on a startling way of sterilizing meat products without chemicals, radiation or cooking. That is hydrodynamic pressure treatment (HDP). Basically it consists of placing the meat products in water proof, strong, sealed plastic packages, then into a water filled, specially designed steel container. Within that chamber a small explosive charge is detonated. An intense compression, hydrostatic wave passes through the meat disrupting bacterial cells and may even inactivate viruses. What this wave may or may not do to the eatable qualities of the meat itself is not mentioned but this method, being mechanical only, holds great promise from an organic viewpoint.
It should be remembered hard radiation is a successful preservation treatment in use, but, although it doesn't leave any significant residual radiation, the hard radiation does break molecular linkages in many compounds within the food and could have unexpected results at times. Thus radiation has been rejected, by the organic community, as a totally safe method of preserving food. Let us keep an open mind on HDP and see where this interesting work leads. It is a method that could, in theory, be used on the farm, so to speak.
--Roy Lent 14 April 2006