Pasteurization of milk products is a known safety application to kill potentially harmful bacteria, however with more consumers choosing more nutritious raw milk products, processors are challenged to provide products that are free of contaminates.
Fortunately, many contaminates found in raw milk products can be eliminated through a combination of plant air-purification systems with effective end-of -the-process line treatment systems, according to RGF Environmental, Riviera Beach, Fla.
Alpine Slicing & Cheese Conversion, Monroe, Wis., installed RGF's Guardian Air-in-duct PHI units following an incident with a Listeria contamination.
"We had an issue with Listeria, and [the RGF installation] has helped us get past that with the security that our plant is environmentally safe," says Bill Stuart, owner.
RGF Environmental introduced a significantly upgraded PHI treatment system for meat and dairy processors—the PHI Treatment Tunnel-PLUS system—which uniquely provides direct 360-degree surface application on all exposed surfaces, resulting in 99.9% surface microbial reduction.
"This modular tunnel is the most effective, state-of-the-art system that I have reviewed, and for the first time, processors will be able to fully treat beef, pork , poultry and dairy products, which have tough angular surfaces and ridges," says Dr. James Marsden, professor of food safety and security for Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. "The PHI process does not affect the taste or appearance of the product, and the tunnel is unique in its ability to totally treat the product surface."
Marsden, also an adviser for the North American Meat Processors Association, Washington, D.C., says the all-natural photohydroionization (PHI) process is an advanced oxidation technology that acts as an additional strategic intervention for trimmings and whole muscle. The PHI technology allows for the anti-microbial treatment of meat products without leaving chemical residues.
RGF, the U.S. patent holder for PHI-Cell Technology, has installed various surface sanitation tunnels used for meat, dairy and fruit and vegetable processors. The stainless-steel PHI tunnels are retrofitted depending on type of products being treated. The food tunnel can provide final non-chemical, antimicrobial treatment, and protect products from human error or other cross-contamination events, which may have occurred earlier during the process.
The PHI technology has been validated for control of Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as mold, yeast and viruses.