Is Your Food Safe?

POSTED: 9:23 am EDT October 30, 2008

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Stories about food contamination may have you thinking twice about produce these days, and it's not just the recent salmonella outbreak that caused a tomato scare. The government says in the U-S alone -- foodborne pathogens are responsible for 76-million illnesses every year. But now -- food scientists may have found a way to make your next serving of veggies safer.


The Centers for Disease Control says foodborne ilnesses, many from fresh produce, send 300,000 Americans to the hospital every year. More than 5,000 die. University of Georgia food microbiologists may have found a way to make fresh produce safer -- a wash that kills dangerous bacteria like salmonella and e. coli in as little as one minute. Dr. Michael Doyle, Microbiologist at University of Georgia, says it's a combination of an organic acid and a detergent that when together, is highly bactericidal. It kills very large numbers of harmful bacteria.

The chemicals are inexpensive and are already FDA approved for other uses. You can't taste or smell them, but researchers say together, they kill thousands more food pathogens than chlorine bleach, which is currently used.

Food scientists recommend you wash your hands before handling produce. Then, after you've peeled it or removed outer leaves, wash your hands again with soap. Then, rinse one more time. Thsoe simple steps could make your next meal safer.

The chemicals used are non-toxic and do NOT pose the same environmental threats as chlorine. The anti-contaminant solution could be on the market in the next one to two years.



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