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Decontaminate surfaces with pulsed light From April 2008 newsletter

Decontaminate surfaces with pulsed light

Valuable insight into the use of pulsed light technology to reduce food spoilage and decontaminate food contact surfaces has been generated. As pulsed light systems are commercially available, the information will help companies in the food supply chain make informed choices about the suitability of the approach to their needs.

In trials with hard cheese, for example, pulsed light treated samples were visibly mould-free for five days longer than controls. Also, significant reductions were observed in counts of Staphylococcus aureus on inoculated packaging and stainless steel. The treated packaging was not adversely affected in tests of tensile strength, seal integrity and permeability to oxygen, for example, though water vapour transmission rates were reduced in some. However, the degree of benefit achieved does depend on the application, which needs assessing case-by-case. For example, reduced levels of inoculated mould on peppers returned to those seen on controls within seven days.

The project - which was funded jointly through member subscriptions and the Food Processing Faraday and used pulsed light equipment on loan from Claranor - is part of our on-going evaluation of new technologies in food processing and preservation.

Contact: Craig Leadley
+44(0)1386 842059