January/February 2020 - 16

FOOD SAFETY
COMMUNICATION
The term " processed foods " often carries a
negative connotation, even though food processing
plays a major role in the vast majority of foods.
acceptance (or non-acceptance) of food
technologies. We have also surveyed
Cooperative Extension educators -
individuals/the entity responsible
for bringing agricultural science to
the general public - in Virginia to
determine their needs regarding the
delivery of food processing information
to their clientele (i.e., consumers or
small producers and processors).
ECU's Department of Nutrition
Science resides in a College of Allied
Health. The students I teach through
the Food Science courses will one day
become nutritionists and registered
dietitians. As these students will
be future communicators of food
information, my team is currently
developing a project to assess nutrition
and dietetics students' knowledge and
perceptions of food processing. The
term " processed foods " often carries
a negative connotation, even though
food processing plays a major role
in the vast majority of foods: food
safety, nutritional fortification and
enhancement, preservation, packaging,
convenience, etc.
How does irradiation, pulsed
light and cold plasma cut down
on pathogen risk in produce that
doesn't include a kill step, like
salad mixes?
IRRADIATION
Irradiation is not a new technology.
Consumer perceptions of irradiation
has served as a barr ier to it s
implementation; however, some studies
demonstrate that consumers are now
more willing to accept foods treated
with irradiation than in previous
years. Irradiation uses ionizing energy
to reduce/kill potential pathogenic
bacteria like salmonella and E. coli
or other pathogens like parasites.
There are many other benefits to
using irradiation including extending a
food's shelf-life by destroying spoilage
microorganisms, controlling insects,
and delaying the sprouting or ripening
of produce. The amount of radiation
(low vs. medium vs. high dose) applied
and time the product is exposed to
radiation yields different results. Many
commercially available products,
including dry herbs and spices, are
commonly treated with irradiation.
FDA has approved irradiation to be
used for lettuce, spinach and other
types of fresh produce.
PULSED LIGHT
Pulsed light - also referred to as
" high-intensity broad-spectrum pulsed
light, " " pulsed UV light " and " pulsed
white light " - uses intense, shortduration
pulses of white light to kill
bacteria on food, contact surfaces and
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January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January/February 2020

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