Submitted to: Food Safety Inspection Service New Technology to Improve Food Safety
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2016
Publication Date: 2/3/2016
Citation: Niemira, B.A. 2016. Cold Plasma: A novel nonthermal process to improve food safety.Volume 1: Page 1: Food Safety Inspection Service New Technology to Improve Food Safety. Washington, DC, February 3, 2016.
Technical Abstract: Contamination of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables by foodborne pathogens is an ongoing problem. While conventional sanitation methods have yielded positive results, their limitations have prompted research into novel interventions. Of particular interest are technologies which use little or no processing water. Several promising physical treatments are in development. Cold plasma is a nonthermal food processing technology which uses energetic, reactive gases to inactivate contaminating microbes. Conventional antimicrobial chemical agents are not required with this flexible sanitizing method. Electricity is used to generate active chemical species from a carrier gas such as air, oxygen, nitrogen or helium. Reductions of greater than 5 logs can be obtained for pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7. The primary modes of action are via reactive chemical products of the cold plasma ionization process and UV light. Additional treatments rely on precise applications of high intensity light, either as pulsed broad-spectrum exposures, or as a narrow-band, monochromatic light treatment. This presentation will summarize the science behind these technologies and describe recent advances. Finally, key areas of future research will be described that will facilitate commercialization.