Disinfection technology sterilises knives without water

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: UV Safe
Picture: UV Safe

Related tags: Bacteria

UV Safe has developed a knife steriliser for meat producers without the use of water which delivers a 5 log kill in ten seconds.

The disinfection technology uses the germicidal waveband of Ultra Violet (UV) Light and high output UVC lamps to destroy the DNA of bacteria on knives.

The infection control firm said unlike hot water sterilisers the UV unit also disinfects the handle.

It added there had been interest from companies such as Foyle foods, Dawn Meats, Kepak, OSI, ABP, 2 Sisters and Tulip since going to market last month.

The steriliser uses a sliding mechanism so the knife and handle are inserted into the chamber, while releasing the sterilised second knife.

Calculated savings

Paul Anderson, general manager of UV Safe, said meat producers are looking for ways of reducing water and energy to save cost and improve carbon footprint.

Calculations showed that on an average production line using 40 water sterilisers, the savings could be £18,000 per year and 64 tonnes of carbon CO2​.

“At the moment it is just for knives and aimed at meat plants such as slaughter and boning and anyone cutting meat. I am looking at other things. This came from industry asking me to develop it last May,”​ he told FoodQualityNews.

“I have applied for a UK patent and am speaking with a company in Ireland who are looking at putting it into their EU plants and possibly by early next year we are looking at going worldwide.

“The plant in Ireland has 40 on their beef line and 50 on their sheep line in one plant. I have sold some to a burger producer who had five as he has a smaller line.

“The technology is not new but it has been used at lower doses over a longer time period. The difference with this is it can be used in chilled areas where water can’t and it sterilises the handle and the blade while other technology does not.” 

The UVC waveband of 254 nanometers, known as the germicidal waveband, is used in the food industry for disinfection purposes.

Lab trial results

Following six months of field trials, laboratory tests by ALS Global Laboratories with traditional hot water sterilisers showed the UV steriliser matched or outperformed the water units.

The validation looked at whether the UV knife steriliser unit was equally effective as the traditional water sterilisation steriliser ones in killing viable bacterial cells on the blades of the knives in an abattoir environment.

Knives were inoculated with a diluent containing a mixture of three bacterial cultures expected to be found in an abattoir environment; E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella auriginosa.

Both sides of each blade and the area of the handle nearest to it were inoculated to replicate the likely area of potential contamination following typical usage.

The side of the blade with the manufacturer’s details and the inoculated portion of the handle were swabbed for an indication of the level of the challenge organism.

Results indicated that for the organisms used, the UV sterilisation unit was equally effective in killing the inoculated organisms on the blade surface as with the traditional water sterilisation method.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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