Get in for the pathogen kill with cold plasma technology

By Hayley Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bacteria Microbiology

An increasing number of manufacturers are investing in cold plasma technology to kill pathogens in the air and on the surface areas of processing plants, reports sister title Food Manufacture.

Only one year into launching the technology, Baxx’s equipment has been installed at sites owned by Dairy Crest, The Foyle Food Group, Cranswick, Dr Oetker, Mission Foods and 2 Sisters Food Group, which is looking at investing in another five units.

“It’s not just firms in the UK, we’ve had interest from General Mills in Australia and McDonalds’ bread-making sites in France, plus manufacturers in Holland, Spain, Israel, the US and South Africa,”​ said Janine Hamilton, Baxx sales director. “We recently sold 55 units in under two weeks. The interest has been astonishing.”

Patented technology

The patented technology uses cold plasma to create and disperse hydroxyl radicals into the air. These rob bacteria, spores and viruses of their hydrogen atoms. The technology can be used in thawing, chilling, processing and packaging.

When Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) put a Baxx unit in its cutting area Hamilton said ABP reported “fewer employees on sick leave compared with the rest of the site, as the equipment kills airborne viruses”.

She said that, unlike competing health and safety technology, “cold plasma does not require any toxic compounds or harmful high energy [UV] radiation associated with other disinfection processes.”

Campden BRI is researching cold plasma technology in its Understanding the mode of action of cold plasma sterilisation on foodborne pathogens project.

“Cold gas plasmas are produced under ambient conditions,”​ said Dr John Holah at Campden BRI. “Their anti-microbial effects offer an unprecedented opportunity of treating fresh foods to reduce the microbial pathogen loading on them without adversely affecting the nutritional and other key characteristics of the food.”

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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