On Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 CRF Frozen Foods announced a voluntary recall of 42 brands of frozen fruits and veggies due to products being potentially contaminated with listeria. Since then, 358 products under those 42 different brands have been flagged for potential listeria contamination. In a press release by CRF Frozen Foods, a list is provided with the recalled products which includes all frozen organic and nonorganic fruit and vegetable products processed since May 1, 2014. "CRF said the CDC notified it that seven people from three states have become ill and were hospitalized due to listeria. Some of these illnesses have been linked to consuming CRF-manufactured processed products. Two of these individuals died, but listeria was not the cause of death in either person." The food brands have been sold throughout the United States and Canada, including grocery stores such as Costco, Trader Joes, and Safeway.
Listeria is an infection caused by eating food with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which in some cases can cause serious even fatal infections in older adults, pregnant women, newborns and individuals with weakened immune systems. Listeria is commonly found in soil, water, and some animals, mainly poultry and cattle. The bacteria can live in food processing plants on produce, surfaces, and liquids and contaminate a variety of processed foods. CNN News released a video "What is listeria?" explaining more in depth about the bacterium.
Conditions in todays food-processing facilities allow for a single incidence of bacterial food contamination to be distributed over a large range of geographical locations and can affect a large proportion of the population. Food safety requires the removal of microorganism pathogens, however with restricting laws over the use of chemical agents (and the concern of harmful effects when ingested) there is a need for an alternative.
Ultraviolet light disinfection has lethal effects towards these microorganisms while not having any negative effects on the produce being treated. UVC is strongly absorbed by most materials, however does not penetrate beyond the surface of solid objects. Therefore, microorganisms on the surface of foods from contact with contaminated surfaces or fluids will be eradicated. Take a look at more of UVC Cleaning Systems device applications.