As more of the food that we consume is subject to some form of processing, a growing onus is being placed on the food industry to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat.
Recent trends in certain sectors of the food industry directed at the centralization of production towards a smaller number of increasingly large food-processing facilities will have important implications for food safety. Such conditions enable a single incidence of food contamination at a facility from which food is distributed over a wide geographical area to potentially affect a large proportion of the population.
Microbiological food safety implies the inactivation or removal of pathogenic microorganisms associated with foods. This can, of course, be achieved in a number of ways but, increasingly, the use of chemical agents is becoming subject to ever tighter legislative control. This is in part a reflection of growing public anxieties about the possible harmful effects of such agents when ingested. Largely as a result of such concerns, interest is being shown in alternative, so-called “physical treatments.” The use of ultraviolet light (UV)falls within this category.