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Electricity, food safety and E. coli

By Tim Sandle
Posted Apr 1, 2012 in Science
A short burst of low voltage alternating current can effectively eradicate E. coli bacteria growing on the surface of food according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health. The technique potentially offers an inexpensive and easy to implement approach to reducing the risk of food poisoning.
Ajit Mahapatra and colleagues at Fort Valley State University, in Georgia and Virginia Tech have demonstrated that applying a low-voltage alternating current to beef samples inoculated with large numbers of E. coli O157:H7 can almost completely deactivate the bacterium. The team points out that the level of contamination used in their tests far exceeded the contamination that would be seen in commercial carcasses after slaughter.
The journal reference is:
Donna L. Harris, Ajit K. Mahapatra, Baron L. Jones, Govind Kannan. Efficacy of low-voltage AC for inactivating surface adherent Escherichia coli O157:H7 on beef. International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2011; 4 (2/3/4): 214 DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2011.044624
To read more: Interscience press release

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