Applications For UV Light Disinfection In The Food Industry

The food industry had been hugely affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Providing essential services, grocery stores remained open, but many of them report have employees that are testing positive for coronavirus. [1]

While the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest concern right now, the food industry is facing yet another challenge: food contamination.

The salmonella outbreak is currently in the spotlight, with documented cases found in several states in the US and five provinces in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. [2]. A couple of weeks ago, over 600 people were sickened by the parasite Cyclospora linked to a bagged fresh salad, and some required hospitalization, according to the FDA. [3]

There are many more food pathogens that cause infections.

For example, raw meats, fish, and poultry are prone to bacterial contamination.  E.coli is one of the most serious and common reasons for foodborne illnesses, often found in undercooked hamburgers and other meats. This bacterium can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome—a disease that often affects children and can be life-threatening.

Chicken and turkey have been linked to shigella, salmonella, and campylobacter. Symptoms of these infections include cramping, diarrhea to fever. 

Seafood, shellfish, and fish can also be contaminated with various bacteria and parasites. Unpasteurized cheese is susceptible to contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, and this infection can cause miscarriages, developmental issues with unborn babies and significantly affect the elderly or those immunocompromised. 

Other common food-born pathogens include Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, and a variety of parasites. [4]

 Is there any effective solution to kill and inactivate these microbes?

UV Light Sanitizer Is The Ideal Solution For Food Industries

Ultraviolet C light is an effective food sanitizer, being used for a variety of applications in the food industry. In addition to sanitizing food, UVC light can be used to disinfect the air, water, surfaces, and equipment. UVC light has a broad antimicrobial spectrum destroying the DNA/RNA of viruses, bacteria, yeast, and fungi in seconds. 

Best of all, there is extensive research behind this technology. For many microbes, the lethal dose of UV radiation is well known. Different microorganisms will require a different UVC dose. For example, bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli are extremely vulnerable and are very easily destroyed. Fresh vegetables and fruits can be treated and the packaging exposed to UVC light not only kills microbes like Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Cyclospora [5], but also reduce the incidence of spoiling. 

Mold spores have some protective mechanisms against UVC To kill spores, a UVC dose which is 10–100 times higher than that required for bacteria is needed. [6]

Not all UVC Light Devices Are Created Equally 

There are three major UVC products: mercury UVC lamps, LEDs, and more advanced pulsed xenon (PXL)- UVC lamps.

When it comes to the food industry, pulsed xenon light is a clear winner. In fact, it was evaluated by the FDA and approved since 1996 for food surface disinfection. PXL can be used not only as a food sanitizer but also for surface and air disinfection in grocery stores.

Pulsed xenon UVC light is currently used in hospitals to disinfect protective equipment for the medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. Based on current research, this form of UVC light inactivates the novel coronavirus within a few minutes.  [7]

Are you working in the food industry? Your employer can get a free estimate for a complete UV disinfection system.  IZAK Scientific offers custom UV sanitizers based on pulsed xenon UVC light. Tested by a third-party laboratory, PXL Products are a great solution for food, surfaces and air disinfection. 

1.https://dailyhive.com/toronto/metro-sobeys-grocery-store-employees-coronavirus

2.https://globalnews.ca/news/7216913/salmonella-outbreak-canada/

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/25/health/cyclospora-salad-infections-trnd/index.html

3.https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/25/health/cyclospora-salad-infections-trnd/index.html

4.https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumer/food-poisoning/foodborne-illness-pathogens

5.https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article/69/11/2786/172053/Inactivation-of-Protozoan-Parasites-in-Food-Water

6.https://www.foodprocessing.com.au/content/processing/article/applications-for-uv-light-in-the-food-industry-1291409884

7.https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.06.20093658v1UV light disinfectionfood sanitizer

 

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