UVC Light Protects Fruit Against Foodborne Pathogens
Thanks to UVC Light there is now a way the growing organic produce industry can protect their fresh fruit
Scientists in Washington State University have shown evidence that UVC light effectively kills food borne pathogens on the surface of certain types of fruit. This will come as pleasant news to those in the organic fruit industry who are constantly seeking alternatives to chemical sanitisers to help prevent food borne illnesses.
After realising their is a high demand from farmers and fruit processors for these alternative sanitizing options, WSU food safety specialist Shyam Sablani and his colleagues looked and researched further solutions where they found the effective use of UVC light.
“UVC radiation is present in sunlight; however, it is completely absorbed by the ozone layer and Earth’s atmosphere” Sablani explained. “It has germicidal properties and can be effective against bacteria, mold and viruses.”
The technology used in UVC light has been used for several years, providing effective sanitation for food as well as drinking water and contaminated air.
which fruits is UVC be effective for?
UVC is more effective on smooth-surfaced fruits like apples and pears. It works to effectively kill micro-organisms by destroying nucleic acid and disrupting their DNA. Sablani and his colleagues began their findings by exposing apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and cantaloupe to different doses of UVC light to determine how effective the pathogen-killing light was against a mix of strains of E.coli and listeria. They found that the light killed up to 99.9% of pathogens on the apples and pears and that listeria was more resistant to UVC then E.coli.
“If you have smoother skinned fruit, then this technology is really great,” Sablani said. “If the fruits are very rough and if the level of contamination is low, it also works quite well.”
They found that the UVC light destroyed 90% of pathogens on rough surfaced fruit such as strawberries and raspberries where bacteria can hide. If bacterial levels are high then UVC technology may not be effective enough for rough fruit however Sablani said research is underway to improve the UVC light effectiveness for rough fruits.
Installing UVC lights to fruit packing line requires hardly any modification or upset to the business. The UVC lamps are simply enclosed behind protective barriers can be easily set up in a tunnel that exposes the fruit to the light as it passes through on a conveyor belt.
If you require any further information or would like to enquire about our UVC technology for the fruit industries please contact us on +44 (0) 1606 855063. We provide our systems to all types of industries across the UK and Internationally.