The challenges and opportunities of cold plasma for the agri-food industry
In a society where consumers are fed stories a plenty about contamination, fraud and miscommunicated allergens in their food, the need for consumer trust in the food supply chain has never been greater. In a bid to get ahead of social media scepticism, Chris Elliott and Connor Black outline why cold plasma technology could solve many of the industry’s problems.
Agri-food industries are legally obliged to produce safe food and drink for consumers and huge efforts are undertaken in an attempt to ensure this. A plethora of methods, techniques and systems are available, yet public scrutiny often dictates their success as opposed to the actions of regulatory agencies.
The Internet, in particular social media, enables the rapid and widespread reporting of incidents, meaning consumer trust built up over the course of many years in a product, company or even a country, can be wiped out within a matter of hours. Not only are incidents reported but, in some cases, so are the techniques used to try and keep our food safe. For example, the application of certain techniques, such as radiation, which is extensively used in some parts of the world yet depicted as unsafe in others.
A new feed and food decontamination technique that warrants serious consideration within the agri-food industries is emerging; namely cold plasma. But an understanding of what it actually is, how it works, and what it might achieve needs to be understood by industry and consumers before social media-driven ‘knowledge’ (and scares) take hold.
Allergens, Contaminants, Equipment, Food Fraud, Food Safety, Mycotoxins, Outbreaks & product recalls, Pathogens, Pesticides, Quality analysis & quality control (QA/QC), recalls, Technology & Innovation, The consumer