The safety of food has always been a matter of priority for everyone. It is one thing that needs to be dealt complete care and concern. There are organizations too which are made to keep a check on the safety of food and management. In regard to this, Ultraviolet light disinfection is a well-established technology for treating air, surfaces and water. In the past decade, UV technology has found more applications in the food production chain because it is an economical, practical, and versatile dry processing method that improves food safety and preserves quality parameters.
The traditional form of generating UVc light uses high-voltage or amalgam lamps and arc-discharge mercury that can cause photons solely at 253.7 nm. Some germicidal effects of UVc LEDs against bacteria, fungi, and viruses have already been shown and reported, along with the first applications for air disinfection, water, and surfaces made for "point of use" integration.
Potentially, UVc LEDs are used to treat beverages, packaging, disinfection of produce surfaces, and other food contact and non-contact surfaces. Some unique advantages of UVc LEDs for food applications are discussed below.
UVc LEDs have become a promising new UV source in the fresh produce industry due to the risks associated with food poisoning. They are simultaneously extending the production storability and minimizing losses. For example, U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists tested UV LEDs in the range between 285 to 305 nm to increase the shelf lives of fresh fruits and vegetables in standard refrigerators. A shelf-life increase of two times was achieved using 20 mW/m2 of power output. Recent research also found that with an equivalent exposure of UV dose, the 277 nm UV LEDs were as effective in minimizing mold spores on the apple skin as low-pressure mercury (LPM) lamp at 253.7 nm.
Robust, miniature, and operating with low electrical power, UV LEDs can be manufactured with highly stable output, working at the optimum wavelength for the application. In addition, LEDs are mercury-free, with no warm-up time and a potentially long lifetime, making them ideal for various such processing solutions. In addition to the previous line, UV LEDs can be used in cold environments up to 0 °C. It has been shown that UV LEDs, which emits at 268 nm, can inactivate the psychrotolerant pathogen L. monocytogenes more effectively at refrigeration temperatures. But if the same is practised at room temperature, it is not so fruitful due to the high irradiance of UV LEDs at cold temperatures.
Therefore, with the development of technology in ultraviolet rays, it has been observed that many actions have taken place. Today, they have become a source for healthy food storage, which is one thing that we may not be aware of until now.