UV-C in the Fruit and Vegetable industry
Over the last 50 years global demand for fruit and vegetables has significantly increased especially in high-income countries as people start to focus more and more on the health benefits. Due to the perishable nature of these products one of the biggest obstacles to meeting this increase in demand is from food spoilage. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has estimated that about 25% of all worldwide food production is lost after harvesting due to insects, bacteria and spoilage. Economic losses due to insects and microbes have been estimated to be as high as $17 billion yearly in the US alone.
The composition of fruit and vegetables provide the perfect environment for micro-organisms such as yeasts, molds or bacteria to thrive and grow making them the main culprits in causing spoilage. The table below details some of the more common types of spoilage and the microorganisms involved.
|Fresh Fruits and Vegetables||Soft Rot||Rhizopus Erwinia|
|Grey mold rot||Botrytis|
|Black mold rot||A. niger|
Depending on the specific fruit or vegetable and their individual growing and harvesting conditions they can arrive at the storage, processing and packing stages contaminated to varying levels by these microorganisms. Over a short period of time they multiply until there are millions of them in the air, causing cross-contamination of nearby products, accelerating their spoilage and of greater concern potential health issues for workers who are ingesting large quantities of these microorganisms.
It is during these stages where the UV-C products supplied by Advanced Air Hygiene can really help reduce the levels of these airborne spoilage bacteria resulting in a longer product shelf-life and improved health of workers.
Consistent disinfection of the circulating air in all production and storage areas with the stand-alone circulating air units AirStream C or AirTube C or as additional equipment for ventilation systems in the form of AirStream , and AirStream V for circulating air evaporators. This regular cleaning of the air stops the colonies of microorganisms from developing into huge numbers helping to maintain the health of workers and preventing products from being further contaminated.
In addition to this using our product decontamination tunnels as close to the product packing stage of the process will improve the product shelf life further by destroying many of the microorganisms that are already on the surface of the food.