In the increasingly global food economy, a single head of contaminated lettuce can spread across state lines and sicken many people. And in 2006, spinach tainted with E. coli from one field in California caused one of the worst nationwide food-poisoning outbreaks in recent years, killing three people and sickening at least 205.
Irradiation, also known as cold pasteurization, kills harmful bacteria by briefly exposing food to ionizing radiation, or short energy wavelengths. Irradiation has already been approved for use on many foods, including spices, poultry, wheat flour and ground beef.
FDA's officials, who have conducted irradiation safety evaluations for more than 40 years, say they have “determined the process to be safe for use on a variety of foods.” “The recent FDA approval for irradiating spinach and iceberg lettuce is misleading to the public because it’s not ready for industrial use by any means,” says Will Daniels, who oversees food safety at organic leafy greens producer Earthbound Farm.
Chris Sch och, the vice president of sales at Ray fresh, said the third-party testing MSU performs helps establish credibility for the technology. Sch och said irradiation is ideal for high-risk products such as ready-to-eat foods like bagged lettuce and raw nuts because there is currently no other kill step that’s as effective at wiping out bacteria.
Bruin said health authorities need to take a more active role in advising the public that they can choose irradiated ground beef, poultry, spinach and lettuce and that supermarkets should offer them at reasonable prices. Earthbound Farm, which packaged the spinach responsible for the 2006 E. coli outbreak, has since put in place the industry’s most aggressive testing and safety program.
In 2008, 0.14 percent of the leafy greens that arrived at Earthbound Farm’s plant tested positive for salmonella or E. coli, and it was destroyed. Many leafy greens producers have signed onto a California agreement that verifies that growers follow food safety practices.
The process simply removes harmful bacteria and does not alter the food product in any other way. “This technology completely eliminates the naturally occurring bacteria, making the delicacy safe to consume.
“The salmonella and E. coli outbreaks in fresh produce over the last few years have really brought attention to the importance of food safety,” Mahmoud said. Bach man participated in evaluating the treated vegetables and found the quality stayed consistent.
Low-energy X -rays are able to sterilize materials, offering a potentially cheap and effective alternative to current techniques, A×STAR researchers have shown. Yong explains that the investigations were prompted by conversations with local manufacturers, who seek improved sterilization processes during the production and use of medical equipment and in the food industry.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. He conducts his work at MSU’s Experimental Seafood Processing Laboratory in Pascagoula.
“This technology completely eliminates the naturally occurring bacteria, making the delicacy safe to consume. “The salmonella and E. coli outbreaks in fresh produce over the last few years have really brought attention to the importance of food safety,” Mr Mahmoud said.
Image © Christopher Frederik Jones In dystopian films, it is a common trope to depict the sky as filled with a thick fog, blocking the sun's rays and bringing a dark atmosphere to the scenes. But recent forest fires and industrial pollution in some large cities have already made the dystopian blockage of sun a relatively common phenomenon, depriving hours of sunshine from many inhabitants.
Concurrently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living a plot that few science fiction writers could have predicted, and new technologies and solutions have emerged to try to contain the spread of this invisible enemy. It has been proven that the sun can kill some viruses exposed for a long enough time; environments that receive solar radiation for a few hours experience less humidity, which prevents the proliferation of fungi and bacteria.
Image © Ken'CHI Suzuki UVA and UVB rays are commonly mentioned on the labels of sunscreen and in radiation alerts in the summer, as they can be harmful to our skin. UVA rays have the longest wavelength (320 to 400 nm) and have the highest incidence on the Earth's surface, since they are not absorbed by the ozone layer.
This disinfection is carried out using special lamps with a bluish tint, which bathe the environment in light and kill the vast majority of microorganisms present. Doctor and scientist Niels Rydberg Fin sen was responsible for discovering the effects of this type of radiation, and received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1904 for using ultraviolet rays to treat infections and bacterial diseases.
Image © Shutterstock / YuGusyevaIn 2020, several sterilizing UVC lamps were launched on the market, aimed not only at hospital spaces but also domestic environments. The New York subway system has used this technology to clean its cars, as have some aviation companies and other spaces with high traffic and poor ventilation, which are potentially dangerous conditions for the spread of disease.
The main form of transmission of the virus continues to be through close contact with a sick person, particularly through the respiratory droplets emitted by coughing, sneezing, or speaking. But the technology could be extremely effective in preventing the spread of unwanted microorganisms in the space itself, which can cause disease and even damage to materials and structures.
This leads to some questions: it is undeniable that the world has changed with the recent pandemic, and concerns that were characteristic of hospital environments and laboratories have begun to reach other spaces.