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article imageBlasting oysters with electrons to prevent food poisoning

By Tim Sandle     May 2, 2013 in Food
Austin - Researchers have studied how electron-beam pasteurization of raw oysters may reduce the possibility of food poisoning through viruses like norovirus and hepatitis.
Electron beam, according to Pharm Micro, is a treatment method for foods and devices which is growing in popularity. The technology uses commercial electricity to generate the ionizing radiation that inactivates the viruses. It is also a relatively ‘green technology’ because no chemicals are involved.
To show that the technology works on foods like oysters, scientists carried out a study where oysters were infected with human norovirus and hepatitis A virus, then blasted with electrons, and then re-tested. The re-tests showed that the virus had been eliminated.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one in six Americans gets food poisoning each year. Additionally, virus infection risks from consumption of raw oysters in the U.S. are estimated to cost around $200 million a year. The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats.
The U.S. FDA advises the following in relation to consuming oysters at home:
• When you purchase oysters the shells should be closed. Throw away any oysters with shells already opened.
• In the shell: After the shells open, boil live oysters for another 3-5 minutes. (Use small pots to boil or steam oysters. Do not cook too many oysters in the same pot because the ones in the middle may not get fully cooked. Discard any oysters that do not open during cooking).
• In a steamer: Add oysters to water that is already steaming and cook live oysters for another 4-9 minutes.
The work was carried out at the Texas A&M University. The findings have been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
More about Oysters, Electrons, electron beam, Food, Food poisoning
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