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Suppliers, grocery retailers take a lot of time to clean salads and veggies to reduce any chances of transmitting microbes to the dining table. Bacteria are the number one leading cause of food poisoning. However, with the many hands involved in handling salad and vegies, it easy to pick up bacteria and move them along the chain. Vegetables pick up bacteria during growing, harvesting, preparation, and retail. Scientists are fronting the idea of deeper cleaning using ultrasonic technology to combat food poisoning caused by bacteria.

According to researchers from the University of Southampton, water infused with “sound and microscopic air bubbles” may increase anti-microbial resistance. Doctors and health experts recommend eating fruits and green vegetables to minimize lifestyle conditions like diabetes, cancers, and high blood pressure, among others. However, these very greens could be the very transmitters of illness if not well cleaned.

Soap, detergents, and disinfectants are not recommended for cleaning vegetables. This is because, during cleaning, cracks are created on the surface through which the soap seeps into the leaves. This causes an increase in chemical intake and may have far-reaching effects.

Reducing amount of waste

In addition to cleaning food, researchers said these findings could be used to reduce food waste and combat anti-microbial resistance. Scientists at the University of Southampton used acoustic water streams to clean spinach leaves. Another set of spinach leaves was washed with plain water.

Spinach that acoustic streams had cleaned had a lower microbial load compared to that cleaned with plain water. This shows using water alone to clean green vegetables may not be enough to remove microbes.

In a statement, Professor Timothy Leighton of the University of Southampton said, “Our streams of water carry microscopic bubbles and acoustic waves down to the leaf. There the sound field sets up echoes at the surface of the leaves, and within the leaf crevices, that attract the bubbles towards the leaf and into the crevices.” It is Professor Leighton who invented the technology.

Food suppliers and vendors are always innovative ways to clean their produce to avoid the transmission of microbes. Probably using ultrasonic infused water could offer a permanent solution.