New technology fights pathogens


Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
April 7, 2009

A new technology licensing agreement between the University of Georgia Research Foundation and HealthPro Brands may help improve the seafood industry's food safety profile.

Announced earlier this week, the deal will extend the range of applications for HealthPro's FIT, an anti-microbial food wash that kills dangerous pathogens on seafood and other foods at home and in restaurants, grocery stores and food-processing facilities.

Mike Doyle, director of the University of Georgia's center for food safety, has strengthened the antimicrobial properties of the food wash for a wide range of foods, including seafood, beef, poultry, nuts, butters, spreads and food-processing equipment.

"The re-formulated FIT food wash will kill more harmful microbes faster and doesn't interfere with the shelf life of sensitive foods," said Doyle.

Doyle is currently testing prototypes, and the enhanced product will soon be commercially available.

"There is no affect on taste, smell or appearance on meat products - it has a pretty wide antimicrobial efficacy," said Todd Wichmann, HealthPro's president and CEO. "Some seafood restaurants such as Legal Sea Foods are using it now and we encourage the generation of data for other seafood customers who might want to use it."

Like the original FIT Fruit and Vegetable Wash, the new antimicrobial wash is safe for humans and the environment and will be available as a spray and immersion solution.

The new FIT product can kill significant numbers of E. coli and salmonella in less than one minute, but it is recommended that the wash be applied from one to five minutes.

"The new technology takes our current FIT product to a whole new level of sanitization," Wichmann said. "We look forward to getting our improved product into the hands of industry."

FIT aims to replace chlorine as the new standard for reducing harmful food pathogens in industrial settings.

"We can't rely on chlorine any longer," Doyle said. "In addition to being safer and more acceptable in terms of appearance and smell, our studies have shown this new technology to be considerably more effective than chlorine."

FIT was originally developed by Procter & Gamble and was sold to HealthPro in 2006. FIT is the only produce wash certified Kosher and recommended by the American Vegetarian Association.

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