Low-Energy Electron Beam (LEEB) to inactivate viruses and microorganisms on heat sensitive raw materials without affecting quality
Fruits, berries, vegetables, grains, herbs and spices are promoted as healthy foods that are consumed fresh or as part, for example snack bars, breakfast cereals or ready-to-eat meals.
However, the safety of these food ingredients can be an issue as they are vector carriers for pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Well-documented outbreaks of foodborne diseases (e.g. Norovirus outbreak linked to strawberries in Germany in 2012, Listeria linked to rockmelons in Australia in 2018) require solutions to ensure food safety. The food sector is in urgent need of gentle microbial inactivation technologies without application of heat that (i) deliver the required safety, (ii) do not change the naturalness of the food, and (iii) are cost efficient and sustainable. This project will bring to the market a new food-safety technology, LEEB (Low-Energy Electron Beam) to tackle this unsolved public health threat. LEEB will deliver to consumers fresh, safe and high quality plant-based ingredients.