Survival of the fittest applies to packaging systems, too, and pulsed UV light is the apparent winner of the nonchemical sterilization competition for food containers.
“It’s become evident that the packaging industry is hungry for a new, more sustainable solution to chemical-based sanitation methods for packaging materials,” says Andy Monroe, sales and marketing manager for Fowler Products, in a prepared statement announcing the company’s collaboration with Claranor, a French technology company that introduced a UV sterilization system for packaging materials to the European market a few years ago (see “Lumière pulsée, s’il vous plaît,” Food Engineering, June 2009). More than 50 pulsed UV units are treating lids, caps and cups on lines in Europe, primarily in dairies such as Weissenhorner Molkerei, a German organic products producer. The first US installation was expected to be completed in November at a yogurt plant operated by a major French dairy that has used the technology at several European facilities.
In challenge tests involving Aspergillus niger fungus, a target organism for dairy packaging, pulsed UV has achieved log reductions of 4.2 and 5.1 with as few as two flashes in under a millisecond. The technology replaces the need for hydrogen peroxide or peracetic acid treatment of materials, eliminating chemical and wastewater treatment costs and significantly reducing operating and water-use costs. The majority of systems in the field were commissioned this year, and Claranor CEO Christophe Riedel is targeting 55 installations in 2013.
For more information:
Christophe Riedel, Claranor, 33 4 86 40 84 64,
Andy Monroe, Fowler Products Co., 706-549-3300,