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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #235916

Title: Ultraviolet light (254 NM) inactivation of pathogens on foods and stainless steel surfaces

item Sommers, Christopher
item Sites, Joseph
item Musgrove, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Food Safety
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2009
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Sommers, C.H., Sites, J.E., Musgrove, M.T. 2010. Ultraviolet light (254 NM) inactivation of pathogens on foods and stainless steel surfaces. Journal of Food Safety. 30(2):470-479.

Interpretive Summary: Ultraviolet light (254 nm) is an FDA approved technology for the decontamination of foods and food contact surfaces that does not leave harmful chemical residues. In this comprehensive study the ability of ultraviolet light to inactivate a cocktail of the foodborne pathogens Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus on a variety of foods including raw chicken and pork, frankfurters, eggs, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and stainless steel was investigated. The treatment inactivated greater than 99.999 percent (5 log) of pathogens on stainless steel, almost 99.99 percent (4 log) on tomatoes and peppers, almost 99 percent (2 log) on frankfurters, and 90 percent (1 log) on shell eggs. The treatment was relatively ineffective on raw meats. Ultraviolet light may be used by food processors to reduce pathogen load on many foods or food contact surfaces such as stainless steel prior to packaging or further processing. This work will assist food processors provide safer foods to consumers.

Technical Abstract: Ultraviolet Light (254 nm) is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nonthermal intervention technology that can be used for decontamination of food surfaces. In this study the use of Ultraviolet Light (UVC) at doses of 0.5 - 4.0 J/cm2 to inactivate a cocktail of Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus that were surface-inoculated on frankfurters, bratwurst, shell eggs, chicken drumsticks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, boneless pork chops, tomatoes, and Jalapeno peppers was investigated. The pathogens displayed similar sensitivities to UVC on individual food products. Pathogen reductions ranged from approximately 0.5 log on raw meat and poultry to almost 4 log on tomatoes, while the pathogens were not recovered from stainless steel at a UVC dose of 0.4 J/cm2. Use of UVC light should be given serious consideration as a technology for routine surface decontamination of food contact surfaces and appropriate food products.