Food processing plants and the food and beverage manufacturing industry, responsible for producing, packing, and distributing all of our favorite brands, need ways to keep bacteria and other pathogens at bay to both protect their food products, but also to protect employees, and it can accomplish both with the right UV-C light fixtures in place.
What is germicidal UV light?
Germicidal ultraviolet (UV) light produces shortwave UV-C emissions that disrupt DNA pairing leading to the inactivation of germs. This type of lighting is being used in hospitals, schools, wastewater treatment plants, and, yes, food processing increasingly all the time (learn more about all of its uses here). The UV-C lighting we provide is over 99% effective at killing these pathogens.
UV Light to Protect Employees- Disinfecting your Air and Surfaces
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, germicidal UV-C lighting has seen an uptick in popularity because it can inactivate many of the pathogens responsible for viruses and infections. You can utilize UV-C mobile units or mounted fixtures to kill these kinds of illness-causing pathogens on high touch surfaces and in the air to help keep your employees from getting sick. In an industry that can't shutdown or work from home, this is vital.
In fact, food processing, particularly meat processing, facilities are a hotbed for COVID-19, but foods are in high demand as everyone's stocking up for long periods at home. Keep your plant from permanent closing by keeping employees healthy.
UV Light to Protect Food and Beverages- A Chemical-Free Irradiation Option
Did you know that UV lighting has been used in food processing for hundreds of years for food irradiation? It kills common food-borne bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria that can cause serious illnesses and even death. UV-C lighting has been tested so it can effectively prevent food contamination and also extend food shelf life. The lighting technology can not only prevent mold, sprouts, insects, etc. from growing and thriving directly on food, it can also treat food packaging and other foodstuff. This includes conveyors and other equipment to transport the food and working surfaces (as discussed above).
Another high growth area for UV-C lighting is specifically for beverages, dairy, and other pasteurized products. UV-C has already been used to sanitize water in municipalities and also bottled water in factories for decades, but it also has potential to replace pasteurization of juices, milk, and more. Pasteurization is known to kill the good along with the bad, lessening vitamin and mineral levels in important products. UV-C light would eliminate this issue as it does not change the chemical makeup of foods and beverages it treats.
Moreover, as chemical disinfectants, preservatives, and other irradiation methods for food come under increased scrutiny and more and more are banned (citing claims of cancer and birth defects), irradiation options like UV-C lighting are a great alternative.
All food manufacturers and distributors struggle with keeping pathogens at bay and muddle through bacterial outbreaks, which cause significant loss to these food and beverage manufacturers. Take the peanut butter Salmonella outbreak of 2009, which started in their processing plant- that company, PCA, is now bankrupt. Stave off these bacteria with UV-C technology.
A Note on Using UV Light for Organic Food Irradiation
UV-C light can be used on organic foods in most states unlike chemical disinfectants, which is great as organic food demand skyrockets. It's seen an even bigger increase due to COVID-19 too. Organic food cannot legally be irradiated, so UV-C lighting provides a sterilization option here too.
UV-C lighting is proven to reduce or eliminate many food-borne pathogens, but its effectiveness requires the right exposure time and intensity of irradiation appropriate for each product. With our help placing the right products, this isn't an issue.
UV-C lighting is safe, and much safer than chemical alternatives or alternatives that alter the density and healthfulness of our foods. Here are some sources that cite the safety of UV-C for your reference:
Moreover, germicidal UV-C lighting that protects your employees from sickness is safe too. Here's our take on safety FAQs when it comes to UV technology.