Ensuring cleanliness of spinach leaves and other tender greens in bagged salads is crucially important. The lack of sanitation of green leaves has led to several mishaps including the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in August 2006 in America. To deal with the matter, bagged salad makers should depend on more advanced cleaning methods instead of the traditional chlorine based washing.
A leading organic salad firm Earthbound Farm has made a notable advance in this regard using a high power ultrasound technique. Since wash additive is not an organic method, the firm has partnered with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) to find out the promising method of high power ultrasound to rub the pathogens from the tender leaves for bagged salads.
Under the new technique, as its name indicates, a high powered ultrasound is applied to the green leaves. As a result, the surface of the leaves will be filled with millions of minute bubbles, which will explode at a rate of thousands per second. This process will result high energy shock waves on the leaves that will extricate all pathogens. The leaves will later undergone sanitized washing to remove the remnants of the bubbles.
According to Will Daniels, senior VP of operations and organic integrity at Earthbound, the technology will soon be applied in its factories. As a result, we will get more clean and purified tender leaves in bagged salads. Robert Brackett, director of IFSH is also excited to get the technology tested successfully. Bracket thinks that high powered ultrasound is the best way to dislodge pathogens and contamination from the green leaves.