A recent study conducted by Drexel University researchers found that plasma may be used to effectively remove harmful bacteria from raw chicken. Published last month in the Journal of Food Protection, the study evaluated the use of a plasma torch in removing pathogens from poultry.
According to senior author Jennifer Quinlan, this technology could reduce the risk of salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, before the meat reaches the consumer's kitchen. This non-thermal method provides an alternative way to remove contaminants other than cooking.
The plasma torch used in the experiment, "...eliminated or nearly eliminated bacteria in low levels from skinless chicken breast and chicken skin, and significantly reduced the level of bacteria when contamination levels were high." This "proof of concept" study focused on the effectiveness of this technology, which remains in its early stages and is presently too expensive to be implemented industry-wide. Still, the findings present promise for the future of food safety and the length of poultry shelf-life.
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