Meat Industry Services

Food Safety Interventions Information

Click on the links below to access information on interventions available at each stage of the meat production process

Contents Page Introduction to Interventions On Farm Processing - hide on Processing - hide off Chilling Packaging or Retail

Gas Plasma

An Emerging Technology

Plasma-based sterilization effectively involves producing controlled lightning by applying microwaves to gases or vapours such as inert gas, oxygen or moisturised air. This results in free moving electrons, ions and neutral particles, which are contained in a field between two plates. Items to be sterilized are passed between these plates, and the contaminating microorganisms undergo intense electron or ion bombardment, so their spore coatings or cell wall materials are eroded, with fatal outcomes

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Packaging or retail
Intervention Type
Surface treatment of product
Treatment Time
Not determined – technology very new
Likely Cost
High capital outlay
Value for Money
Good potential. If using air (ie. O 2 ) as the gas, can be cost effective
Plant or Process Changes
Space would be required for installation of the equipment
Environmental Impact
Energy is required, but no effluent produced
Occupational Health and Safety
The unit would require proper screening

Can treat irregular surfaces

There is potential for in-pack gas treatment (ie. treat the gas before adding to the pack), but it more feasible to surface treat the product before packaging

No chemicals or residues produced. That is, the gases are ionised between the plates, and it is the gas that is in contact with the meat surface

Disadvantages or Limitations

Surface penetration only

Consumer perception may be poor because of a perceived link to irradiation technology

Possible surface oxidation

Products are likely to be batch processed during treatment, but could be made continuous with conveyor feed


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