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Technology exists to keep E. coli out of food

In a groundbreaking study at the University of Minnesota, Extension food scientist Joellen Feirtag has been experimenting since April with a water-based electrochemical activation system that disinfects, cleans food and wipes out E. coli.

While electrolyzed water systems are not new, this system, developed by a team of Russian scientists, is unique because it produces a pH-neutral solution that won't cause deterioration or off-flavors when sprayed on food. The system is environmentally friendly; its only outputs are water and salt.

Feirtag sees great potential for the system and is working to get it into the food industry (a few Minnesota companies are already using the system). The solution can be sprayed directly onto foods such as vegetables, destroying bacteria like the E. coli strain responsible for the spinach/green onion outbreaks.

This system could be used from the farm to the retail marketfor irrigation in fields, washing in processing plants and misting in grocery stores.

"The results we're seeing are phenomenal. It's killing all bacteria and viruses. It even kills avian flu and anthrax spores," Feirtag said.


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Contact: David Ruth
druth@umn.edu
612-624-1690
University of Minnesota
11-Dec-2006


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