From Quaker Oats Company issuing a voluntary recall due to Listeria on one of their products this week to Chipotle's ongoing food safety and E. coli issues in the last year, disease outbreaks in the food industry have become increasingly prevalent. Chipotle's E. coli contamination and outbreak have been suspected to have been from the source of their beef where the pathogens in the meat were passed to other foods in their restaurants. Although many farmers use antibiotics to ward off diseases, including E. coli, many of these diseases still persist because of antibiotic resistant strains.
Today a large number of investors within the food industry are under pressure to stop serving meat and poultry from animals that are frequently given antibiotics. However, in the United States 80 percent of all antibiotics are given to animals. This is causing a great issue because there is a proven link between antibiotic use on farms and antibiotic resistant in humans. According to the CDC and FDA, "food animals serve as a reservoir of resistant pathogens and resistance mechanisms that can directly or indirectly result in antibiotic resistant infections in humans."
Use of antibiotics in livestock allows for antibiotic resistant bacteria to thrive while the susceptible or good bacteria are suppressed or die. Resistant bacteria that survive can be transmitted to humans in foods that we eat. The link between food processing animals and humans allows for infections and negative health consequences. The FDA has released regulations on antibiotics intended for use in humans and animals, but until there is better control in the spread of bacteria and there are tools to rapidly respond to outbreaks and changes in resistance there is concern for emerging pathogens.
UVC disinfection treatments in the food industry have become a new application to improving the safety of food, and are an increasingly necessary tool in the technology fighting against antibiotic resistant bacteria. UVC can reduce and eliminate E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, fungi, molds, and other pathogens or contaminants on foods and can significantly improve product value and in turn human safety.