The Benefits Of UV Disinfection In The Meat And Poultry Industries
Control of microbial contamination is always a high priority in the meat and poultry industries. Driven by ever higher quality standards, many operators now use ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology to help them meet these standards. UV is highly effective against virtually all microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, moulds and viruses. It is simple to operate and completely non-intrusive, using no chemicals of any sort and having no effect on the texture, taste or odour of the material being treated.
There are many requirements for Hanovia UV systems in the meat and poultry industries. One of the most important is the inactivation of Cryptosporidium and other harmful bacteria in mains water used for product make-up, rinse and chill. Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine disinfection, but recent independent tests have shown UV to be very efficient at destroying it (1). UV systems are also effective at disinfecting meat marinades and brines, potential breeding grounds for bacteria and moulds due to their high nutrient content.
Another UV requirement is the disinfection of water used for feed make-up in poultry houses and other livestock feeding areas. Contamination of the water can adversely affect growers’ feed conversion ratios, but installing a small UV unit is a simple and effective way of ensuring the water is pathogen-free.
Surface disinfection is another area where UV comes into its own. Simple UV tunnels can be installed on existing process lines to disinfect meat, poultry or eggs prior to packaging, or before they are transferred to High Care areas. Surface disinfection systems are also ideal for sterilising food handling utensils, conveyor belts and packaging materials.
UV is also extremely effective at removing airborne spoilage organisms and pathogens carried by air conditioning and ventilation systems. Compact and easy to install within existing ductwork, Hanovia air treatment systems are silent in operation and can treat up to 4m3/second of air per lamp. They are virtually maintenance-free, the only regular requirement being the replacement of the UV lamp twice a year, a simple operation that can be carried out by general maintenance staff.
Outside the processing and packaging environment, UV is now also finding increasing acceptance as an effective and economic way of disinfecting effluent and wastewater prior to discharge. It even allows wastewater to be recycled and re-used as process water, with obvious cost savings for operators.
1. Clancy et al, 2000. ‘Using UV to inactivate Cryptosporidium’. Journal AWWA, 92(9), 97-104.