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Effectively Reducing Spread of Bacteria to Ensure Food Safety

Effectively reducing the spread of bacteria is a key concern in the food industry, and critical to ensure food safety. In meat production, it’s a well-known fact that bacteria such as Campylobacter and Listeria can present risks to human health, should they be present in the product. So, what can be done to minimize the risk of bacterial growth in food production?

Moisture is a strong disseminator of bacteria, with higher humidity levels leading to increased bacterial growth. At a relative humidity of 70%, 223 times more bacteria develop than at a humidity of 50% (Qui et al. 2022). Reducing water activity, i.e. reducing the moisture, has a significant impact on microbial growth, with rapid drying being an effective method of reducing bacterial contamination levels.

Figure 1. Influence of Water Activity on Bacterial Growth Rate.*

Munters’ dehumidifiers have been shown to be highly effective in reducing Campylobacter contamination levels on transport crates. A study by Dzieciolowski et al. (2022) found that treating the crates for just fifteen minutes at 50 degrees Celsius with a Munters dehumidification system achieved a remarkable elimination of the detectable presence of Campylobacter.

Humidity control and shock drying are also crucial in combating Listeria monocytogenes, another bacterium that presents challenges in the food processing industry. The combination of cleaning, disinfection, and rapid drying has proven particularly effective in reducing microbial growth, see Figure 2. Read more in the Munters Spotlight "How to avoid Listeria in meat production".

Figure 2: A combination of cleaning, disinfection, and dehumidification reduces the risk for microbial growth in 4 hours as the dehumidification speeds up the drying process.**

Controlling humidity levels and using rapid drying techniques are essential strategies in reducing the spread of bacteria in the food industry.

Adsorption drying, which uses highly efficient desiccants like silica gel to absorb moisture in the vapor phase, is the preferred choice for the food industry to reduce the risk of bacterial growth, thereby ensuring food health. Munters' dehumidfication solutions have shown to be highliy effective in achieving this goal.


Download white paper: "Reducing microbial growth in meat processing."


*Source: H. Sperber, William et al. “Influence of Water Activity on Foodborne Bacteria — A Review1” Journal of Food Protection, vol. 46, no. 2, Feb. 1983, p. 142-150. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-46.2.142  (place at the bottom of the article)

**Source: L’Université Paris Est et L’Ecolce Doctorale ABIES. (at the bottom of the article

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