ATHENS, Ga., June 25 (UPI) -- University of Georgia researchers say they have developed technology for reducing contamination of dangerous bacteria on food such as salmonella.
The new antimicrobial technology, which has commercial application for the produce, poultry, meat and egg processing industries, is available for licensing from the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., which has filed a patent application.
Currently, a chlorine wash is frequently used to reduce harmful bacteria on vegetables, fruits and poultry, but because of chlorine's sensitivity to food components and extraneous materials released in chlorinated water treatments, many bacteria survive, said Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety. Chlorine is toxic at high concentrations and may produce off-flavors and undesirable appearance in some products and needs specialized equipment and trained personnel.
"This new technology is effective, safe for consumers and food processing plant workers, and does not affect the appearance or quality of the product," Doyle says in a statement. "It may actually extend the shelf-life of some types of produce."
The antimicrobial technology, developed by Doyle and Center for Food Safety researcher Tong Zhao, uses a combination of ingredients that kills bacteria within one to five minutes from application as a spray or immersion solution.