By Jenny Wilson
Posting in Food
A recent study conducted by Drexel University researchers found that plasma may be used to effectively remove harmful bacteria from raw chicken.
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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Feb 6, 2012
This plasma method only kills surface bacteria. A better method would be food irradiation, which gets bacteria inside the food as well.
to deal with bacteria is to keep it off to begin with... Most chickens in the US are slaughtered and then cooled by moving through a water bath where they soak up water an bacteria, because there are hundreds of chickens in the same water. In Europe, the carcasses are quickly lowered in temperature using filtered cold air jets, which is cleaner, and faster, and provides no breeding ground for bacteria. There used to be such a plant in Nebraska? which may still be operating. It's never a good idea to permit your food to harbor bacteria when it is preventable, regardless of how rapidly or thoroughly you can sterilize it...as the bacteria grow, the quality drops. Just as fresh-picked vegetables will be better quality than the sames which has been stored--no matter how good the controlled storage is. Americans tend to buy 'pretty' fruits & vegetables. They get pretty by being stripped of the dirt which also removes flavor an vitamins--because in many plants the flavor and vitamins are mostly in the skin--a layer only a couple of mm thick. These days the newer stuff has little or no flavor, just sweetness--close your eyes and you have trouble recognizing things.
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Anytime you bring together food from different sources, you are going to increase the likelihood of cross-contamination. For example. sooner or later carcasses have to be cut up. Nobody is going to use a separate knife for each animal. Some meat products, such as sausage, use meat from many animals. I'm not saying the European method of using cold air won't help, but it's not a panacea either.
For quite some time plasma cannons have been used to sterilize a meat that "taste like chicken" in a galaxy far, far away...
If you look at the link in the article, it mentions there that plasma works on vegetables and fruits as well.