A new proof-of-concept study conducted by food safety researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia has demonstrated that plasma can be used to kill bacteria on uncooked poultry, vegetables and other foods. The treatment could change the future of the food and restaurant industry as removing harmful bacteria before it reaches a consumer’s home or a business can reduce the risk of cross-contamination during food preparation.
Raw poultry and other meat products are the most common source of harmful bacteria, with Campylobacter and Salmonella found on more than 70% of chicken meat tested. When contaminated samples were treated with plasma, the bacteria was almost completely eliminated. Plasma is non-thermal so there is no heat to cook the food it comes into contact with. The only downside is that plasma technology is currently quite expensive and isn’t being developed for processing on a large scale.